THC Dosage Guide
Determining the correct THC dosage for your needs can be daunting. In this post, we’re going to talk about the various medical conditions for which people use THC, which THC products are suggested for certain types of conditions, and what the recommended dosages of THC are for particular conditions.
What is the ideal THC dosage? This is probably the number one question people have when incorporating THC-infused edibles and other THC products into their daily health routines. How much should I take?
The answer to this question depends on several different factors:
- What medical condition you are treating
- Which THC product are you using
- The formulation of the THC product (what’s in it)
- Your age, size, and physical condition
Let’s explore each of these considerations.
Your ideal THC dosage depends on your medical condition
THC has been used for decades to treat symptoms related to numerous medical conditions. Insomnia, anxiety, depression, and even serious disorders such as epilepsy have been successfully treated with this remarkable cannabinoid. Anecdotal evidence and studies assure us that there are many other medical conditions known to benefit from the administration of THC.
Research and clinical trials have detailed precisely how THC works with the body’s innate healing system to alleviate symptoms. This complex system is called the human endocannabinoid system or ECS. However, the ECS is merely one of the mechanisms by which THC and other cannabinoids found in medical marijuana address multiple symptoms.
medicinal properties of THC:
Here is a list of a few of the medicinal properties of THC:
- Analgesic (pain reliever)
- Muscle relaxant
- Antiemetic (nausea)
THC’s interaction with the ECS plays a significant role in relieving multiple symptoms. However, this mechanism isn’t responsible for all of the benefits of the application. Pain relief via the administration of THC can also be achieved by reducing inflammation at the injury site. Additionally, THC is known to regulate the pain response in the central nervous system.
medical conditions being treated with THC
Here is a list of some of the variety of medical conditions being treated with THC:
- ADD & ADHD
- Addiction & Alcoholism
- ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Antibiotic Resistance
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Colitis & Crohn’s Disease
- Endocrine Disorders
- Epilepsy & Seizures
- Heart Disease
- HIV & AIDS
- Huntington’s Disease (HD)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Mood Disorders
- Motion Sickness
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
- Osteoporosis/Bone Health
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Prion Disease (Mad Cow)
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Skin Conditions
- Sleep Disorders
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
The proper dosage and delivery method for THC are contingent upon what condition is being treated with the cannabinoid.
For some medical conditions, such as a skin eruption, a topical THC-infused salve or balm may be a better option than edibles. Edibles are far more effective in relieving inflammatory intestinal problems in addition to a host of other internal issues.
Ideal THC dosage depends on the type of THC product
Individuals seeking relief from painful conditions may be confused by the sheer number of THC products available. As we mentioned earlier when seeking symptom relief, certain products are more beneficial for particular conditions than others.
Let’s go over the most common types of THC products.
THC oils and tinctures
These easy-to-use drops can be placed under the tongue (sublingually) and are absorbed quickly into the capillaries found in the lining of the mouth. Generally speaking, these oils and tinctures are believed to be highly effective for treating pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression as well as painful conditions of the mouth. They can also be added to foods and beverages.
THC capsules and tablets
THC-infused tablets and capsules are another easy-to-use oral option for ingesting the cannabinoid. Oral medicines are most beneficial for the treatment of internal issues. Fast-acting, these products melt quickly and deliver rapid relief to the stomach, making them ideal for treating nausea and ulcers.
THC-infused candy is a delicious option for those seeking fast relief from their tummy troubles. Much like the capsules, chocolate and gummy bears dissolve almost instantly in the stomach, offering immediate relief from pain and discomfort.
Baked THC edibles
Baked goods are another delectable way to enjoy the healing properties of THC. Baked edibles, however, take a little longer to digest. This slower digestion allows the THC to work its way through the digestive system and is particularly helpful for those suffering from intestinal issues such as Crohn’s disease, IBS, IBD, cramping, and intestinal ulcers.
THC vape oils and inhalers
THC inhalers and vapes offer instantaneous effects, as the THC is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. This delivery method is an excellent choice for individuals suffering from fast onset conditions such as PTSD, panic attacks, and nausea. However, there is some controversy around vaping causing lung damage, so it’s wise to use these methods sparingly.
THC-infused topicals are used on the skin. They are a great option for individuals with skin conditions, as well as those suffering from spasticity and joint or muscle pain. THC topicals are designed specifically to treat conditions of the skin or those related to joints and muscles. THC oil can also be applied topically. However, be aware that the full-spectrum oils will have a powerful, unmistakable marijuana aroma.
Marijuana flower and cannabis concentrates
Dried marijuana buds and concentrates such as hash and wax can be smoked, vaped, or added to food. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, marijuana and concentrates contain more than just THC. They also contain other cannabinoids plus compounds called terpenes which also have medicinal effects.
The problem is, the cannabinoid and terpene content can change drastically from strain to strain. Some strains contain no THC at all. Also, it’s not quite as simple to calculate the dosage when smoking and vaping. You need to know how much you’re smoking and what percentage of THC and other active compounds it contains. Even then, everyone inhales differently. And finally, smoking and vaping can contribute to bronchitis, asthma, and high blood pressure in some users.
The ideal THC product depends on the formula
There are multiple formulations of THC products, and the overall effects may vary depending on the contents of the product.
THC product formulations can be broken down into three categories:
- Full-spectrum THC oils
- Broad-spectrum THC oils
- Purified THC-infused products
Full-spectrum THC oils
Full-spectrum THC oils contain multiple compounds aside from THC and other cannabinoids. They are derived from the resinous cannabis flower clusters. These potent extracts contain the aromatic, oily compounds known as terpenes.
Terpenes are the reason marijuana has a distinctive scent. There are vast numbers of terpenes in cannabis flowers, and each has its own, highly beneficial medicinal properties.
There are multiple strains of medical marijuana, and each one contains a definitive blend of terpenes and cannabinoids. Different strains offer different blends and varied benefits.
Certain strains may elicit euphoric, energetic, appetite-dampening effects, while others make you hungry and sleepy.
This combined effect of the cannabinoids and terpenes is known as the entourage effect.
It’s been suggested that full-spectrum medical marijuana products offer greater benefits than their broad-spectrum counterparts. However, this depends on the strain and/or which terpenes they contain, and the nature of their effects.
If you don’t know exactly what terpenes are contained in a certain product, it’s wise to do some research or consider other products that are not full spectrum.
Additionally, some individuals may have a bad reaction to some terpenes. It’s always wise to be cautious when experimenting with herbal remedies and start slow. Always use a few drops on the skin at first, then a couple in the mouth. Be aware and discontinue use if any irritation should occur.
Broad-spectrum THC oils
These products are essentially purified THC and particular terpenes blended with a vegetable oil base. These oils have been developed to treat specific conditions such as pain, anxiety, and insomnia. The manufacturers have complete control over the formula and know exactly what terpenes have been used.
These broad-spectrum products are generally very clear about which terpenes have been added and specify what conditions can be most effectively treated. However, this isn’t ALWAYS the case, and it’s a good idea to ask.
Some products on the market contain only purified THC and a carrier oil, without the terpenes. These products are especially beneficial for alleviating the symptoms of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, spasticity, epilepsy, and tremors. Additionally, however, they can also be used for the treatment of all the conditions mentioned earlier in this article.
In most cases, topical products are manufactured with purified THC and not a full-spectrum THC. This is because THC is colorless and odorless and ideal for use in topicals as well as cosmetic products.
How much THC is in the product?
If the manufacturer doesn’t show the THC levels on the packaging, it’s wise to avoid purchasing the products. It’s important to know the THC content.
Most THC-infused products contain anywhere from 5 to 10 milligrams per single serving. The packaging should indicate either the dose per serving or the amount in the entire product.
A bottle of tablets or capsules should indicate the number of pills as well as the amount of THC per capsule.
Your physical condition is a big factor
Physical condition and size play a big role in determining the proper dosage of THC. Older, frail people may require higher doses as their ECS isn’t as efficient as it once was. Smaller people can usually get by with tinier doses.
Individuals suffering from extremely painful conditions may need a much higher dosage. However, if one has moderate pain, a smaller dosage would be in order.
So what is the ideal dosage of THC?
There is no ideal dosage for everyone, as there are many factors involved in determining the amount. Different products will also elicit different effects in some individuals.
Here are a few rules to abide by to get you started:
- The minimum dosage of any THC products is usually 5-10 milligrams. (Anything lower is considered microdosing.)
- As a dietary supplement, stick with 5-10 mg once or twice a day
- For general aches and pains and conditions such as anxiety, and depression, 10 mg every four hours.
- For insomnia, try 10 mg ½ hour before bedtime.
- Certain serious medical conditions can require doses up to 25 milligrams or more at a time. However, if you are treating such a condition you should be doing so under the direction of a qualified healthcare provider.
A word of caution: Some THC-infused products contain nanoencapsulated THC oil. Essentially, this means that the oil is encased in water-soluble microscopic beads. This encapsulated THC has a higher bioavailability and thus is more potent. If you choose to consume these nano products, start with very small doses.
How to calculate the amount of THC in a dose
Most manufacturers will list the amount of THC in their oral products. It might take some basic math skills to calculate a proper dose. You will need to know how much product and how much THC is in the package.
In most cases, one drop from a standard eyedropper contains approximately 0.05 milliliters (mL). This means that there are around 200 drops in a 10 mL bottle of THC-infused oil. And if the bottle contains 1,000 milligrams of THC, then each drop will contain about 5 mg of THC.
So the formula is this:
- There are about 100 drops for every 5ml of oil so divide the total ml by 5 to get the total number of drops in the bottle.
- Divide the amount of THC in the formula by the number of drops to determine the amount of THC in each drop.
How much is too much THC?
Naturally-occurring THC, unlike many traditional medications, is non-toxic. You can’t overdose on this cannabinoid. In fact, the body can easily process up to 100mg doses. That being said, a high dose of THC can induce extremely unpleasant effects such as changes in appetite, exhaustion, paranoia, anxiety, and lethargy. There are other side effects that may occur, depending on what other oils, compounds, and terpenes are contained in the product.
Start small. Be aware of the effects and precisely how your body reacts to the doses and adjust them accordingly.
Final thoughts on choosing a THC dosage
There are a couple of final considerations to go over.
Get professional medical advice
This article is just a general overview of some of the facts and considerations to be taken into account prior to engaging in a medical marijuana treatment plan. This is most certainly NOT to be considered medical advice.
It’s imperative to seek the advice of a medical practitioner (preferably a medical marijuana doctor) before ingesting these products.
Start small, work your way up
Always begin your THC consumption with very small doses and work your way up until you achieve relief. If you feel anxious or lethargic, it’s best to cut back a little.
Talk to your health care provider
If you have a serious medical condition and are using THC for more than just a supplement, talk to a healthcare provider. They can safely guide you and properly assess your progress.
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Sources and additional reading
- Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials
- A systematic review of cannabidiol dosing in clinical populations
- Consensus recommendations on dosing and administration of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain: results of a modified Delphi process