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Dosing Protocols & the Entourage Effect

Delivery Methods


Inhalation: smoke via pen, pipe, dab, joint, blunt or bong or vapor via vaporizer

Ingestion: edibles, capsules, drinks

Sublingual: tinctures/droplets, sprays, lozenges

Topical: salves, balms, bath soaks

Transdermal: gels, patches 

human hands holding a cannabis joint and lit lighter over a wooden coffee table with a plant in the background

Onset & Duration

stack of 5 chocolate chip cookies next to a cannabis bud on a wooden table


Inhalation: onsets in 1-3 minutes; lasts 1-3 hours

Ingestion: onsets in 30-90 minutes; lasts 6-12 hours

Sublingual: onsets in 15-30 minutes; lasts 2-4 hours

Topical: onsets in 30-60 minutes; lasts 2-4 hours

Transdermal: onsets in 15-30 minutes; lasts 6-12 hours

Beautiful Benefits


Inhalation: systematic relief; fast-acting

Ingestion: systematic relief (extended); longer-acting

Sublingual: easily measurable & controllable

Topical: localized pain relief & reduces inflammation

Transdermal: localized pain relief & reduces inflammation

female hands loading cannabis flower into rolling paper with an open grinder on the table below her

The Entourage Effect

CBD Isolate vs. Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum

“The whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts”
 – Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN, FAND

The cannabis plant contains harmonious cannabinoids, terpenes & flavonoids that work together beautifully as a unit. 

While the individual components of the plant can be beneficial by themselves, like the sedative & calming properties of myrcene, when combined with the other beneficial plant parts, such as THC, it can be a useful treatment tool for insomnia. Yes, you’ll find some relief with myrcene on its own, but you’ll find an even greater effect when allowing everyone (or most) to the party. 

Your choice will be based on several factors, such as your goals, pain, sensitivity to THC, impairment/euphoric desire, & legality of your state.

CBD Isolate: contains no parts of the cannabis plant other than CBD (non-impairing)

  • Good choice for children, elderly, & pets
  • Good for chronic pain
  • Least effective of all 3 product types

Broad Spectrum: contains all parts of the cannabis plant without THC (non-impairing)

  • Good for choice children, elderly, pets & those new to cannabis
  • Great for chronic pain
  • Common in CBD lotions, bath soaks and salves

Full Spectrum: contains all parts of the cannabis plant with THC (potentially impairing/euphoric)

  • i.e. The Entourage Effect
  • Good choice for seasoned users & those with severe pain
  • Best for chronic pain
  • Federally legal full-spectrum products should contain no more than 0.3% THC
    • Little to no impairment/euphoria
  • In legalized states, THC levels will likely be higher
    • Potential for impairment/euphoria
    • More common in flower & ingestible products rather than topicals or transdermals

Dosing Tips & Reminders

dimly lit room with circular rattan mirror hanging on wall with orangey couch, two teal round throw pillows, a floor lamp and teal curtains
  • Dosing is highly individualized
  • There is no standard “one size fits all” protocol in existence for cannabis
  • “Start low, and go slow”
    • Start with a small dose (1-2 mg), then slowly increase that dose until you’ve found your desired therapeutic effect
    • Sometimes “less is more”
  • Be patient! It can take time to find your perfect pairing
    • In the beginning, your doses may be too low to feel any type of effect, and that’s totally ok
    • Keep slowly increasing until you feel an effect
  • Track your symptoms
    • Be sure to account for the type of delivery method, time to onset, duration of effects, and how each dose makes you feel
  • Reduce your dose if you experience any unwanted side-effects, such as paranoia or psychosis
  • Pair with nutrient-dense, synergistic foods and beverages
  • CBD tends to be more beneficial for daytime use, so try for products higher in CBD during the day
  • At nighttime, try products higher in THC to assist with sleep
  • Above all, remain calm and peaceful, and engage in stress-relieving activities, such as meditation or journaling, to enhance the therapeutic and euphoric effects

🌱🍍 Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, and let me know how you’re feeling on your journey to finding your perfect dose 🍍🌱

Helpful Websites

Note: Links with a (*) are affiliate links – when you purchase through these links, I receive a small commission.

  • Holistic Cannabis Academy*
    • Want to teach others about cannabis? Become a Holistic Cannabis Practitioner (HCP) through the Holistic Cannabis Academy*! And if you follow this link, you’ll earn 50% off the total price at checkout!
    • This self-paced practitioner training program is filled with qualified industry leaders teaching in over 30 video modules on cannabis-related topics from history to legislation to dosing, just to name a few.
    • There is so much to know about cannabis, and if you’d like to learn the most accurate information from some of the best in the field to support your clients, follow the link above.
  • Jannabis Wellness
    • If you are a cannabis consumer and don’t yet know who Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RDN, FAND is, you’re missing out! Janice is an incredible Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Holistic Cannabis Practitioner, as well as a public speaker, college professor and product developer!
    • In fact, Janice is the very reason I started on this journey for myself. She spoke to our state affiliate (pre-pandemic), and I just fell in love with everything she presented and discussed (and she’s just COOL). We also have so many similarities in our journeys, and I could not be more grateful to have such an amazing mentor, colleague and friend. Do yourself a favor and check out her website for one-on-one nutrition counseling and/or cannabis consulting, plus her hemp-derived CBD products (0% THC)! Our family dog is even a Jannabis Wellness customer!
  • Healer with Dr. Sulak
    • Become a trusted cannabis and hemp CBD advisor through Dr. Dustin Sulak’s Healer Certified Training Program. Dr. Sulak is a renowned cannabis clinician specializing in cannabis dosing protocols, peer-reviewed education and research, and manages over 10,000 patients! This self-paced training program includes 3 courses designed for industry leaders, healthcare professionals and cannabis consumers, and along with monthly webinars where you can ask Dr. Sulak questions in live time.
  • Leafly
    • Well-known for its accuracy in potency record-keeping, is a great resource to find specific strain information, such as therapeutic effects, and terpene & cannabinoid profiles, along with a dispensary locator.
  • Blogging Accelerator Program*
    • Want to learn how to make money blogging? Then you have to check out Katie Dodd, MS, RDN, CSG, LD, FAND‘s* incredible, step-by-step Blogging Accelerator Program*! And if you follow this link, you’ll save $300 on the total price at checkout!
    • In this program, you’ll learn how to build a website (even if you have zero experience) along with lessons on search engine optimization (SEO) to maximize your blogging efforts, and endless support & encouragement from Katie herself.
    • Katie has helped several dietitians earn full-time wages without seeing a single patient! This dietitian’s income reports on her blogs are so inspiring (she has three!).  Be sure to join her Facebook group for daily motivation, inspiration and support.
  • Beyond the 9 to 5 Course*
    • Not ready to take the full leap just yet? In the meantime, check out Katie’s Beyond the 9 to 5 Course*. This is what kickstarted my journey into blogging, and then I went all in with the Blogging Accelerator Program above. Learn how to start a side hustle and find your “why” with this awesome, self-paced program!
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