Medical cannabis is quickly gaining popularity as a viable alternative treatment for a range of ailments. However, as a treatment that is new to most of us, familiarity with its usage is still not as widespread as it should be. To help, we’ve assembled ten tips from a 2019 research report by Professors Hutchison KE, Hagerty SL, Galinkin J, Bryan AD, and Bidwell LC to help get the most out of it.
In their 2019 Cannabinoids, Pain, and Opioid Use Reduction clinical study on medical cannabis, Professors Hutchison KE, Hagerty SL, Galinkin J, Bryan AD, Bidwell LC give several guidelines for medical cannabis patients and health care providers based on their clinical experience.
Read on for their top ten tips to optimize medical cannabis treatments. But first, don’t forget to download our free cannabis news app.
1) Oral Medical Cannabis Formulations Deliver Minimal Risks
Oral formulations (eg, pill, edible, spray) that contain equal amounts of THC and CBD are likely to have some benefits and minimal risks. (ease of administration, rapid absorption, high bioavailability).
2) Patients Use 3mg of THC per day on Average
Although doses vary widely, medical cannabis patients usually use a dose of 3 mg per day on average. However, a therapeutic benefit and minimal psychoactivity are obtained from 2.5 mg of THC.
3) Work With a Physician Experienced in Medical Cannabis
Patients are advised to work with their physician to increase their medical cannabis does slowly to 2.5 mg of THC or until the desired effect is achieved (i.e. the reduction in pain, reduction in opioid use).
4) Careful Patient Monitoring Is Essential
Careful monitoring is essential with formulations containing THC, as patients may take more than the intended dose. Note that the dosage of CBD can start higher and progress faster because it is not psychoactive, but high doses of CBD will need to be monitored with careful attention of the physician to avoid potential pharmacokinetic interactions.
5) Keep Medical Cannabis Out of Reach of Children
This one goes without saying, but it is also essential that all medical cannabis products are kept well out of the reach of children. They are, after all, medicine.
6) Ensure Medical Cannabis Quality Standards Are Met
Patients should avoid products that have not been manufactured under installations that comply with GMP standards and whose label does not include precise dosage information. Accurate labeling means making use of reputable laboratories.
7) Look Out for Adverse Side Effects
In cases where medical cannabis patients experience adverse cognitive side effects, they should stop using or switch to products containing higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC.
8) Weigh up the Risks and Benefits of Medical Cannabis
The risks and benefits of medical cannabis use need to be weighed with care in some people, especially for people who: are less than 25 years old, have a significant personal or family history of psychosis are actively being treated for mood disorders/depression, and anxiety or have symptoms of these disorders.
9) Avoid when Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Patients who have certain indications should avoid taking medical cannabis. This includes patients with a current or past cannabis use disorder or other active substance use disorder, cardiovascular or respiratory disease, are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or breastfeeding.
10) Prefer Non-Inhalation Medical Cannabis Delivery Methods
Although the flowers can be consumed by vaporizers for therapeutic purposes, it is always better to opt for non-inhalation dosage forms such as capsules or oils. Even if there is no combustion, damage to health cannot be excluded with a vaporizer. Moreover, it is not possible to measure the exact dose of active principle consumed.
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