4 Ways to Find Your Perfect Dose of Cannabis
6 months ago
Dosing marijuana is hard. Even with legalization gaining traction across the U.S. and South Africa, however in South Africa, the consumption of marijuana is limited to private and personal use.
With the multitude of cannabis brands and consumption options available in markets where medical and adult-use marijuana is legal, people new to cannabis still struggle with finding how much cannabis and what kind is appropriate for them. For now, the best we can tell cannabis consumers in their quest to find the perfect dose is to “start low and go slow.” Cannabis businesses and entrepreneurs are stepping up to the plate and giving consumers a wide array of options to solve their problems around figuring out the right amount when dosing.
The first attempt at a solution was the rise of microdosed cannabis products. Now, some businesses and organizations are adding science and technology to the mix, in hopes of improving dosing accuracy. Other companies are helping consumers figure out not just how much cannabis they require, but also what type of cannabis products best suits their needs. From the tailored consumer highs touted by companies like Ebuu and AbsoluteXtracts, to the “layered” effects of Level Blends, consumers now have a few ways to tackle the cannabis dosing problem.
1. Microdosing—It Isn’t Just for Cannabis Edibles & Tinctures
Microdosing was first associated with psychedelics like lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin—the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms. Young professionals reported using small enough doses of these substances to elicit certain responses, like depression relief, without any larger hallucinogenic effects that could inhibit everyday activities.
This concept quickly gained in popularity in a cannabis space that was initially focused on products with high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Now, microdosing is all the rage across medical and recreational marijuana markets.
Edible makers still have to address their own dosing problem: Multiple reports in U.S. states with recreational cannabis markets have found that the amount of THC on the package doesn’t necessarily correlate with how much of the molecule is in the edible itself.
Luckily, microdosing edibles aren’t your only options: Tinctures, which you’ll find in markets where marijuana is legal, offer a more accurate way to dose and there are also inhalable alternatives. Low-THC pre-rolls are another option in medical and adult-use cannabis markets. They allow newbies or those with a low THC tolerance to smoke flower with little fear that they’ll accidentally overdo it. There are also a number of cannabis inhalers available that are designed to give metered doses.
Israel-based Syqe Medical has managed to attract the attention of Teva Pharmaceuticals with a medical cannabis inhaler that delivers standardized doses of cannabis. The device is already in use in Rambam Hospital in Israel and has even undergone a small clinical trial to test its dosing accuracy.
2. Technology That Tracks Your Cannabis Dosing
If you’re having trouble keeping track of your cannabis consumption, never fear: There’s—unsurprisingly—an app for that. Releaf is a digital cannabis journal. Consumers note what they’ve taken, how much of it and how it made them feel. All of the data is recorded in the app, which creates reports you can share with your doctor or another appropriate caregiver.
Other brands like Resolve are also using technology to help customers find their perfect dose. The company’s “smart inhaler” pairs with an app where users input their pain levels. Based on this report, the app calculates an appropriate dose. The app then pings the user, asking them to record how they feel 10 minutes after consuming. By aggregating this data and offering a way to precisely consume cannabis, the consumer can have an easier time determining how much of Resolve’s product is needed for pain relief. The smart inhaler is not available in South Africa as yet however for the few locals that do travel abroad could experience this product when travelling.
3. Cannabis Products That Are Designed & Touted for Their Effects
While some U.S. and Canadian companies are focusing on helping consumers hone their dosing levels, others are “designing” cannabis effects to help consumers figure out what they should take. By controlling the amount of cannabinoids and terpenes in their product, companies aim to create predetermined effects that eliminate the uncertainty that sometimes happens when consuming cannabis—especially edibles.
Reconstructing cannabis highs is common among vapour pen companies in the U.S. These companies use components of the cannabis plant to create particular effects. For example, they may reconstruct strain profiles to give consumers effects they recognize from their favourite cannabis strains, like Jack Herer, Blue Dream and Sour Diesel. While other companies use the same principle to elicit effects like bliss, relief, calm and sleep.
Other companies, like Ebbu are taking this idea and attempting to apply it to the burgeoning cannabis beverage market. The company is collaborating with MillerCoors to develop a cannabis beer that mimics the effects of alcohol. The beer will even “hit” drinkers in the same amount of time it takes for an alcoholic beer to take effect.
4. Layering Cannabis Can Help You Achieve Certain Effects
Layering is a concept that experienced cannabis consumers in areas where medical or adult-use cannabis is legal have likely been doing for a long time, perhaps without even knowing it. Layering is mixing and matching various cannabis products to achieve a certain effect. According to HelloMD U.S. co-founder Pamela Hadfield, layering can be done in two ways:
- within a product line—there are many to choose from in California, where Pamela resides
- by using different cannabis consumption methods together
If you’re already an experienced cannabis consumer with a wide array of products at your disposal, layering with different consumption methods might help you achieve the desired effect. “If you have chronic pain, maybe start with your vape pen, then move on to your edible and then your topical,” suggests Pamela.
Photo by Ndispensable on Unsplash
Even with the advent of new technologies in cannabis dosing, finding the right amount and the best consumption method still requires some experimentation. Hopefully, with some of these tips, you’ll be on your way to finding your perfect dose. If all else fails, remember the basics: Start low, and go slow.