Finding a Safe and Effective Dose for Medical Cannabis

doctor prescribing medical cannabis

Patients take medical cannabis to treat a wide variety of medical conditions. Depending on the condition being treated, they may be prescribed different strains and formulations with varying degrees of THC or CBD. Furthermore, there is also a range of delivery methods including inhalation, pills, oils, creams, edibles, etc. All these differences can make finding the right dose a challenge. In fact, according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association, there are no validated dosing recommendations like there are for traditional pharmaceuticals.

For this reason, when a patient begins taking medical cannabis, it is recommended that they find their proper dosage through a process called titration.

What is Titration?

Titration is a closely supervised process in which a patient’s dose of medication is gradually increased until they find the optimal dose to treat their condition. The patient’s reactions to the drug are closely monitored in order to keep any negative effects to a minimum.

There are a number of factors that will cause variations in a patient’s response to cannabis. These include:

  • Individual metabolic rate
  • Delivery method
  • CBD and THC concentrations and product formulation
  • How much experience the patient already has with cannabis
  • Other medications that the patient is already taking
  • Age and genetics

What can I expect when I first start taking medical cannabis?

A good rule of thumb when it comes to medical cannabis dosing is “start low and go slow”. It is generally recommended that you start with a low dose and gradually increase it over time.

Generally, patients can expect the drug to start taking effect within 30 minutes to 4 hours after taking it. Physiological affects tend to last between 6 and 8 hours but may last up to 24 hours.

Short-term potential side effects may include dry mouth, drowsiness, judgement and/or psychomotor impairment, and feeling “high”.

Patients should stop taking medical cannabis if they experience any unacceptable side effects.

Is there a common “optimal dose”?

Finding an optimal dose can happen as quickly as within one to two weeks, however it is more common to find the right dosage within six to eight weeks. Every patient is unique, however a common therapeutic dose of medical cannabis is 1ml to 2ml every day.

Oftentimes, patients will take a formulation with a higher concentration of CBD during the daytime and another formulation with a higher concentration of THC at night before bed.

How your Patient Educator can help you find the optimal dose.

Following your medical assessment and prescription for medical cannabis, your Patient Educator will assist you in finding the correct dose. They will provide you with a dosing chart and treatment tracker and advise you on how to use it so that proper records can be kept of your progress.

Over a series of follow-up visits, your Patient Educator and prescribing physician will adjust the dosage and/or formulation until you find your optimal dose.

Contact Cannaway Clinic Today

If you are considering taking medical cannabis, contact Cannaway Clinic today. We can help you get your prescription and help you find the right dose for you.


Comprehensive Medical Cannabis Plan

There are no referrals necessary to book an appointment with one of our physicians.

  1. Canadian Pharmacists Association (2018) How to help patients find a safe and eective dose Retrieved from: