Making Adjustments to a Patient’s Treatment Plan

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About 15% of patients using medical marijuana find immediate relief from their symptoms at the recommended starting dose.

However, that means 85% of patients will need to make some adjustments to their medical marijuana treatment plan.

In today’s article, we’ll talk about some of the changes we may make to a patient’s treatment plan.


Change the Dose

This is one of the first changes we will make to a patient’s treatment plan.  If a patient is not feeling results, we will often times gradually increase the dose until an effect is felt.

Sometime in marijuana naive patients with a severe illness like chronic pain, it may take 2-4 weeks to start feeling an effect.

Other times, patients may have side effects, and in a situation like that, lowering the dose will alleviate the side effects.

Occasionally, we may even have to perform a “reboot” where the patient abstains from any marijuana use for a period of a few days to a few weeks.

Because medical marijuana works in a biphasic way, it’s important for your physician to know when to increase your dose, when to decrease your dose, and when to “reboot.”


Change the Frequency

Sometimes a patient will benefit from a larger dose fewer times a day.  Other times, a patient will benefit from a smaller dose taken more frequently.

If you find that your effects are consistently wearing off a few hours before your next dose, your doctor may want to increase your dosing frequency.

There may be situations where you want to dose only specific times of the day, such as only at night due to job considerations.

Make sure your doctor understands all your individual circumstances.


Change the Strain

Right now, unfortunately, there are only two strains of medical marijuana available: CBD and sativa THC.

So currently our medical decision making revolves around deciding which strain would best help the patient, or if both strains are indicated, in what ratios?

In addition, adding terpenes to your medical marijuana treatment may help bring out a desired effect.

For example, it’s long been hypothesized that the terpene Myrcene is responsible for the sedation commonly associated with Indica strains of marijuana.

So it may be possible to recreate that type of sedation by taking Myrcene along with your medical marijuana

Hopefully as more strains become available, doctors will be able to mix and match strains to more accurately target every patient’s individual symptoms.


Change the Route of Administration

As you know, the way you administer medical marijuana can change the effects.

Inhaling allows for a quicker effect that does not last very long.  Edibles are slower to take effect but last longer.  Tinctures are somewhere in between.

Unfortunately, right now we only have tinctures available, but we should have more routes of administration in the near future.



So hopefully this article gives you a summary of the type of changes we may try in order to get the best results from your medical marijuana treatment.

Keep in mind that despite best efforts, unfortunately about 15% of patients may not see any benefit from medical marijuana.

Thanks for reading.


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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana