Everyone reacts differently to cannabis. If you are thinking of cannabis for medicinal purposes, it’s very important that you find the exact and right dosage for you.
Take a minute to remember what you feel after one drink. You feel more relaxed, you start talking a little more and feel chipper. But after you had six or more, you start to feel dizzy. And if you push it a little further, you’ll probably make a visit to the toilet and pass out. This is something called the biphasic effect. And, besides alcohol and other substances, cannabis also produces biphasic effects. We’ll explain how the biphasic effect works and how to properly manage dosage to experience the best results.
What is the biphasic effect?
The biphasic effect means that too low or too high doses of cannabis can produce equally negative effects, or worsen your symptoms. And, most importantly, in cannabis, specially when it comes to THC, moderate, balanced doses can make you feel the desired effects. However, high doses can amplify the symptoms you’re trying to get rid of. For example, consuming too much THC can induce anxiety and even a panic attack.
But the biphasic effect doesn’t work the same for everyone. Let’s say you try a CBD cream to manage your back pain. You try it and it works so well that you tell all your friends and family about it. Your aunt is having back pain as well, so you give her some of that cream. But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work for her. Why? Because of the biphasic effect. Maybe your aunt needs a cream with a higher CBD percentage.
Every person is different and has different reactions to substances like cannabis. This is why dosage is so important. And not just any dosage, but the right one for you. And to find the right one you need to understand that cannabis strains have different ratios.
Different strains, different ratios
Even though the market is full with predominant THC strains, CBD has become more popular. According to Google Trends, CBD searches triple THC searches (see table below).
Among the CBD searches, the most popular related topic is “CBD Oil”. The increasing interest in CBD and it’s different products in the market means that people’s interests and curiosity are mainly directed towards the non psychoactive effects of cannabis. To understand it better we need to explore the different strains and categories of products available in the market.
High THC, Low CBD
This type has between 10% and 30% of THC and very little amounts of CBD. Research has found that CBD can even lower or neutralize some of the psychoactive effects of THC. These type of strains will definitely get you high.
But, when it comes to medicinal purposes, a higher dose doesn’t necessarily mean a better effect. With large amounts of THC, the effect is sedating, more than stimulating.
This type has a balanced 5% to 15% of THC and CBD. Even though there is no “right dose” for everyone, some think this balanced type is a good starting point. Guillermo Velasco of Complutense University of Madrid is one of the leading scientists researching cannabinoids for cancer treatment. He states that THC has as much medicinal purposes as CBD. “In my opinion as a scientist, I’ve been working with [cannabis] for quite a long time. THC is the compound that has the most potent anti-cancer activity. CBD is helping—we tried a lot of combinations of THC and CBD because it’s good for avoiding the side effects of the therapy […] but, definitely THC is important”.
A 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC is considered to have a very good response to some treatments. Both cannabinoids have the same medicinal benefits such as analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. So if you want the best result for pain and inflammatory problems, balanced CBD/THC this is your type of product. CBD can cancel the psychoactive effect of THC, so you will experience the medical benefits of THC, but without experiencing so much the psychoactive effects.
High CBD, Low THC
Finally, we have the CBD predominant strains. Products of this type have between 5% and 20% CBD, and under 5% of THC. People who consume these products are sensitive to the side effects of THC. Also, people who need to be in constant medication throughout the day prefer these high CBD concentration products.
But high concentrated CBD products doesn’t necessarily mean more effective. If you have a lot of pain and you are considering CBD, don’t think high doses of this cannabinoid are going to help you even more. According to Project CBD, just 2.5mg of CBD combined with a small amount of THC can have a great medical effect, opposite to high doses of CBD.
In cannabis Dosage, less is more
Above all, cannabis is considered to work better in low doses. For example, let’s take a look at two of the FDA approved medications: Sativex and Epidiolex.
Sativex is a cannabis sublingual spray developed by GW Pharmaceutical. Each spray of 100ml and it contains 2.7mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD. This means is almost a 1:1 ratio. A study conducted on cancer patients with Sativex prove the concept of “less is more”. Patients who received 21mg a day showed significantly more decrease in pain than those patients who received 52mg a day. Other patients who received 83mg showed no response at all.
Likewise, Epidiolex is another pharmaceutical drug approved by FDA. The drug is indicated for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome in patients 2 years of age and more. Studies prove that just 1mg/kg of body weight, for epileptic children shows better results. What doctors recommend is to start with this small those and slowly increase after watching the patient’s response.
Start low, grow slow
In conclusion, find the right dose for you. But remember this: start low, grow slow. Everyone’s is different, and taking into account the biphasic effect, you and your aunt will experience different effects while using the same CBD cream. It’s better to try products with a low dose of CBD and/or THC and watch your reaction throughout one week. If you don’t experience any changes, increase the dose. But do it in a very small proportion, and watch your reactions again. Try this until you find the right dose for you. And always remember that, in cannabis, a higher dose doesn’t mean better results.