Medical Marijuana: Administration and Dosing

Marijuana can be administered in different ways. Experts suggest that a person speak with a health care provider or dispensary professional (commonly referred to as a “budtender”) in order to determine the most effective method and how much a person will need to take to achieve adequate pain relief.

Administering Medical Marijuana

The different routes of administration, include:

  • Inhalation (smoking, vaporization)
  • Oral (prescription cannabinoids, edibles, tinctures)
  • Sublingual (lollipops lozenges)
  • Topical (lotions, balms, oils)

This choice is dependent upon personal preference, severity and location of pain, as well as any suggestions from a health care provider.


Factors that Affect Medical Marijuana Dosing

Dosing will be dependent on several factors, including:

  • The way the marijuana is consumed
  • The strain
  • The particular ailment or condition that is being treated
  • Level of pain
  • A person’s daily life and medical history

See Common Conditions That Cause Chronic Pain

Dosing is typically described by milligrams of cannabis per day. In general, it is suggested that people start with a low dose.

Some doctor’s will use the term “therapeutic window” to describe the range between the lowest dose that provides pain relief and the dose that produces unwanted side effects, such as dizziness or excessive tiredness. This window is usually narrow for new users and widens as a person builds tolerance.


Keeping a Cannabis Journal

Each cannabis strain will affect every person differently. In order to figure out what works best, a health care provider will likely recommend keeping a detailed journal that tracks different strains, dosing, pain relief effects, and any other details that may contribute to how a person feels after consuming marijuana. A journal is an important record that helps spot patterns. For example, many people track caffeine intake as that can interact with marijuana.

The use of marijuana for the management of chronic pain is a rapidly growing area of medicine, however, more robust and long-term studies are needed to provide scientific evidence.

See Complementary Health Approaches and Marijuana for Chronic Pain