Choosing and Dosing Medical Cannabis Products
At Patient Choice, we help patients to be well-informed about the countless medical cannabis products and accessories available to them. We are here to guide our patients during the process of selecting, trying out, and hopefully maintaining use of effective medical cannabis products. We help patients to discover products that will make up a treatment regimen that results in relief from mental and physical symptoms.
What to Look for in a Product
You should consider whether THC, CBD, or a combination of THC & CBD (the two most prominent active compounds in cannabis) is best for treatment of your symptoms. With this, you should also seek products with a THC and/or CBD content that is beneficial for you. 20% THC content is considered “very strong”, and 33% is the highest potency currently available. Most cannabis strains in Canada are between 15% - 20% THC.
Patient Choice allows you “Shop by Attribute” like ‘high THC’ and ‘high CBD’ on our convenient web shop here
Have you considered how you wish to consume your cannabis product?
- Do you want to eat or drink it?
- Do you wish to drop a measured dose of oil under your tongue?
- Do you want to smoke it?
- Or perhaps you wish to apply a product topically to your skin i.e., in a lotion or personal hygiene product.
Your method of consumption does influence the resulting effects you feel from the cannabis. Your final main consideration should be the amount of consumption. Health Canada and your Doctor can provide safe dosage guidelines, and Patient Choice will guide you in selecting products for safe and effective treatment of your symptoms.
Cannabis Oils & Tinctures - like the Pura Vida CBD Oil Drops found here on the Patient Choice site - are the fastest growing product type on the medical market. But patients can have a difficult time understanding how concentrations, dosage, and usage works with cannabis oils.
“We always tell patients to start low and go slow - which means, start with a small amount (i.e. 0.2mL/dose) and increase the amount (in mL/dose) every 3 days until a therapeutic dose is reached," says Morgan Toombs, a Registered Nurse from the O Cannabis Clinic team. "Start low go slow also refers to starting with LOW amounts of THC, meaning start with a CBD dominant product. In other words, don’t start with a 1:1 or a THC dominant product, start with a CBD product."
Patients can be quite confused at how to dose medical cannabis oil. It is important to remember that every person is different, and the exact dosage of a medical cannabis product varies between patients. Patients really need to safely explore what works for them, and ‘rinse & repeat.’
Consuming a medical cannabis oil (like the ‘Nightfall Indica Honey Oil Drops’ found on our web shop here) sublingually (under the tongue) is perhaps the most useful method. This will result in the quickest absorption time (but a shorter overall duration vs. oral ingestion). Underneath our tongues are many capillaries that lead directly to our bloodstream. Ingesting this way basically transmits the active ingredients right away, without having to be metabolized or broken down by our livers and stomachs.
A patient should place a few drops or a full dropper of oil under their tongue, and hold it there for 30 seconds. Health Canada states that onset of effects via this method is 5 - 30 minutes; peak effects at 1.5 - 4 hours, and duration is 12 – 24 hours. 24 hours is meant here medically: still in your system, but not likely that you would still be feeling noticeable effects - though you could.
The packaging of medical cannabis products in Canada can be confusing for patients. Licensed producers must legally share a lot of information on their labels. This makes the labels very ‘busy’, but also provides patients with comprehensive information. Labelling is consistent among all Health Canada regulated cannabis products, so if you understand how to read one label, you will understand how to read all of them. You will see the cannabis strain type (indica, sativa, hybrid). Some labels might go further and list the specific name of the strain too, for example: ‘Purple Kush’. You will see the ‘packaged on’ date, and on some products an expiry date.
So how do you read what’s actually ‘in the product’? Patients must know the cannabinoid content (the active compounds in cannabis which provide you with effects) in the products they consume. All Health Canada-regulated cannabis products need to state THC and CBD levels on the label. It can be confusing though, as they list THC and CBD contents in two number sets, and use different units of measure depending on the product type; for example-- dried flower has a different measuring unit than oils.
The first reference is a base number (i.e. “THC” and/or “CBD”), and the second is a percentage (i.e. “Total THC” and/or “Total CBD”). ‘THC’ and ‘CBD’ refer to the quantity of active cannabinoids contained in the product as purchased. ‘Total THC’ and ‘Total CBD’ refer to the levels of active cannabinoids when the cannabis is prepared for consumption.
Every method of consumption (oils, dried flower, edibles) has its own unit of measure for cannabinoid content. Oils and tinctures measure cannabinoids as milligrams per milliliter: mg/mL. For example, you will see on a cannabis oil label: THC 10.3 mg/mL & Total THC 10.3 mg/mL; meaning there is 10.3 mg of active THC content in 1 mL of this oil. Another example is: CBD 11.5 mg/mL & Total CBD 11.5 mg/mL; meaning there is 11.5 mg of active CBD content in 1 mL of this oil. Oils differ in concentration, and the maximum allowable concentration in an oil is 30mg/mL.
Medical cannabis products, especially Oils & Tinctures, are consistently improving and emerging. We will continue to help patients make informed decisions wherein they understand what they’re looking for in a cannabis product, how to dose their products, and how to effectively understand the packaging and labelling on their medical cannabis products.
We would love to welcome you to Patient Choice here.