Last year, my father was diagnosed with cancer that caused severe visceral pain. We knew weed could help. What we didn’t know was how much to give him. The months that followed were shaped by trial and error—sometimes we nailed it, and he experienced a few lucid, pain-free hours of relief, and other times, we got it horribly wrong, leaving him lethargic or anxious and confused. The experience crystallized the need for a safe baseline from which we could determine the correct dose for him.
As the demand for cannabis soars, so too does the need for clear guidelines governing its use. Cannabis is potent medicine, and as a medicine, requires a framework that minimizes harm. Standardized dosing may be the cornerstone of such a framework.
At present, the therapeutic cannabis landscape is characterized by inconsistency. There are states with varying levels of medical cannabis programs and other states with none; doctors who are well-versed in the specificities of medical marijuana, and doctors who are unaware of the existence of the endocannabinoid system.
There’s also clinical research that details the efficacy of cannabis in treating specific ailments, but with sweeping differences in the doses of THC or CBD that have been administered. Deducing what constitutes a standard dose can be tricky, to say the least.
For a long time, the recommended adage for those experimenting with cannabis medicine has been to “start low, go slow.” A shift is afoot, however, with calls for standardized THC units for both research and clinical purposes.