A medicinal approach to working with cannabis means checking-in. Not only with your prescribing doctor and our educators, but, equally importantly, learning to check-in with yourself.

This is a habit we may not be as used to in traditional western medicine. We may be used to taking medicine in the prescribed amount at appointed times. The cannabis model requires a fundamental shift in this approach.

Because cannabis has hundreds of compounds which work on a systemic level (without harming organs in other systems, or depleting vitamins and minerals), ideal cannabis dosing and choice of strains and/or ingestion methods can involve a few steps.

Although your doctor and the education centre team will give you the initial recommendations, that is only the beginning. Cannabis doses, strains and ingestion are ultimately determined by you, the patient. With our guidance, you will be checking-in with yourself about how you feel, journaling and fine tuning to achieve desired effects.

Why? Because the goal is to bring our own endocannabinoid system into homeostasis by augmenting with the cannabis plant’s phytocannabinoids, which interact perfectly with the regulating cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Only you will be able to tell when the right amount and method(s) have been achieved.

Our medical professionals recommend that you start with a ‘low and slow’ approach. This low amount may well be at a sub-therapeutic level. That’s ok. You would then titrate up slowly. The goal is to come in under the therapeutic amount so that you will know when you achieve the right dose.

Until the science more fully supports bio-individual testing, we can compare where we are now to hearing tests, for example. Where you, as the patient, determine and signal when you can hear something. Another example are the optometrist tests, when you signaled and read out when the bottom line came into focus.

We aim for a minimum effective amount. (You wouldn’t wear glasses or hearing aids which over-correct). Your own unique bio-individual system will let you know exactly where the ‘sweet spot’ is.  

In terms of cannabis oil, your ideal dose will depend on the state of your endocannabinoid system, how effectively you liver is able to metabolize the oil, and your metabolic rate. You could end up doing well with 0.2 ml of an oil, or you may need to titrate up to 0.4 ml; you may decide to take the oil twice daily, or you may decide to take it 4 times daily. (Same goes for vaporizing plant matter, although that bypasses the digestive tract and liver so effects can be determined and noted much more quickly. Start with a couple inhalations and journal the effect.)

Keep a dedicated checking-in journal. Beyond times, amounts, and effects noted, your journal notes should include the name of the licensed producer and strain name, cannabinoid levels  (CBD and/or THC), and top terpenes (myrcene, pinene, limonene etc.) if they are listed.

Our physicians determined an ideal starting dose to be 0.1 mg. This amount takes into account that oils may have different concentrations. Some may be 25 mg/ml, while others may be 10 mg/ml. That minimum effective amount will be reasonable at any concentration. You may then titrate up from there as you see fit.

A smaller amount taken 2-4 times a day will generally be more effective than a large amount once a day. We refer to this as microdosing.

Oil generally takes 2 hours to peak and will be active in your system from 6-8 hours typically. This could be longer based on your metabolism so note this time frame as best you can. That way if you take an oil to sleep, you can back-time it to avoid grogginess in the morning. Or, if you are using oil for chronic pain, you will know how to space doses for relief coverage.

Cannabis’ ability to interact so perfectly with our own endocannabinoid system (one of the largest neurotransmitter systems in the body) and bring our systems into balance makes it one of the healthiest plants on the planet. Its ‘flowers’ offering relief to so many patients.

In this renewed frontier you will more than likely encounter a myriad of opinions. Take all of the information in, but always Check-In with, and for, yourself.  


— Kait Shane, Community Outreach Educator Natural Health Services. Follow Natural Health Services on Twitter@NatHealthserve.

For further insight into all things cannabis, don’t forget to check out The Cannabis Show (new episodes every Wednesday) and connect with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. The Cannabis Show is also available as an audio podcast, subscribe on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherTuneIn, and Overcast.

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