There is a word for determining how much is best for you: titration.
What is Titration?
Scientifically speaking, titration is a technique used to determine the minimal amount of the active component in medicine that will give the desired results.
If that sounds like a lot of gobbledygook to you, you’re not alone! Let’s simplify it. Titration is a way to limit potential side effects by seeing how your body will react to a drug.
The process begins by using the lowest dose possible, then gradually increasing it (also called “up-titrated”) until the maximum effective dose is achieved—or until you start to suffer side effects.
Doctors use this process on patients with cardiovascular disease, for example. They gradually ease the patient into a medication that may help lower their blood pressure or manage their heart rate without causing damaging side effects.
We know that any substance—even water—can be beneficial at certain amounts, but damaging at levels that are too high. What may be too high for you, however, may be not high enough for someone else, simply because of the inherent differences between one person’s body and another.
What is Titration When It Comes to CBD?
Titration, when we’re talking about CBD or any type of cannabis, simply means finding the right amount that works for you.
The process got its start with medical cannabis. Patients needing to use it to manage medical conditions such as seizures and cancer-related pain would use titration to discover the best dose for managing those conditions. Under a doctor’s supervision, they would gradually increase their consumption to identify a dose that would ease their symptoms without causing too many side effects.
When you begin to “titrate,” the best approach is always to start at the lowest dose. Particularly for patients who have never tried cannabis, it’s important to use caution in the beginning until you know how your body and mind will react. Keeping track of the dosages while taking daily notes of how they affect you, what benefits you experience, and how long they last, is important when determining whether to keep increasing the dose or to stop where you are.
Cannabis is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Most medications have recommended doses. Scientists have determined over the course of many studies what amount works for most people with a certain type of condition. If you want to take an aspirin, for example, you can look on the back of the bottle for the recommended dose for an adult, and use that information to gauge your intake.
It’s not the same with cannabis, however, for a couple of reasons. For one, we don’t have as much research on it yet. Because it was illegal for so long, scientists have been unable to study it as extensively as they have other medications. Now that restrictions have been lifted, there is more freedom to study the plant and its potential for treatment.
Cannabis is also an incredibly complex plant. Aspirin is aspirin, and no matter what brand you buy, you’re going to be getting the same basic active component. With cannabis, however, no such standardization exists.
There are over 100 cannabinoids in the plant along with 200 terpenes. Plus different types of cannabis plants produce different levels of these cannabinoids and terpenes, all of which affect the body differently. Manufacturers create different products, too, which contain different combinations and levels of active components.
That means you could eat one CBD cookie (or any other consumable CBD product) that contains 5 mg of isolated CBD, while another contains 25 mg along with some of the original terpenes. Because of the differences between these two products, you can’t assume that eating one will affect you the same way as eating the other.
Then there is the difference between your physiology and someone else’s. Whereas you may experience a pleasant relief of anxiety with the 25 mg CBD cookie, someone else may find that it makes them sleepy.
Do I Need to Titrate with Different Types of Cannabis?
Because of all these potential variations, it is wise to “titrate” with any cannabis product that you haven’t tried before. Start at the lowest dose possible, then gradually work your way up until you experience the benefit you’re seeking.
Always spread your experimentation out over several days to be safe. Deciding that one dose wasn’t enough and taking another within a few hours, for example, may result in uncomfortable side effects that you’d rather avoid. Give it time, keep a journal of your reactions, and gradually you’ll find the best solution.