Dosing Protocols & the Entourage Effect
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
Onset & Duration
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
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
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
- 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
Note: Links with a (*) are affiliate links – when you purchase through these links, I receive a small commission.
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