Tips for Using THC Safely and Effectively

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Many patients who use medical marijuana will be on THC.  Some of the symptoms that can be improved with THC include pain, nausea, appetite, and sleep.

However, THC is also psychoactive (you will get high).  For experienced medical marijuana users, this is not a problem.

For novice users, getting high could pose some potential problems.  You might not be able to work or drive, take care of your kids, or suffer from anxiety or paranoia.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how a patient without previous medical marijuana experience can use THC safely and effectively.


Start Low

Medical marijuana has a ten to twenty fold range of effectiveness depending on a patient’s individual tolerance and previous use of medical marijuana.

For example, a patient who has used marijuana consistently for many years may be using 100 milligrams per dose.

However, someone who is new to marijuana will likely start around 5 or 10 milligrams a dose, perhaps even lower.

If a new patient were to start any higher, side effects like paranoia, anxiety, nervousness, and hallucinations would likely occur.

So if you are new to medical marijuana, start very low, no more than 5 to 10 milligrams per dose, perhaps even lower if you are frail or elderly.


Titrate Slowly

At such a low dose, you may not feel any effects right away, or at all.  That’s ok.

Remember, when we’re starting you off, we’re not looking for results right away.  We’re trying to titrate to find the dose that helps the most with your symptoms without inducing any side effects.

That takes some time, around 1 to 2 months in most cases.

It’s like test driving a car.  You might have to test drive a dozen cars over a few weekends before you find one that’s right for you.

Just don’t wreck the car you’re test driving!

So as we try to find the right dose for you, we’ll want you to gradually adjust your dose no more than every few days.

Adjustment might take the form of a higher dose, or more frequent dosing, but not both at the same time.  We’ll let you know how to adjust based on your symptoms and side effects.

We don’t advise adjusting more often than that, or you might suffer from side effects that will set you treatment back.


Do Not Stack Doses

Sometimes, when a patient does not see a result, they will take another dose right away (basically double up).  We strongly advise against this.

One, it makes figuring out your eventual dose harder, as the double dose is hard to factor into our calculations.

Second, doubling a dose for most people is too much too fast, and will likely cause the aforementioned side effects, such as paranoia and anxiety.

I know that most patients are eager for the medical marijuana to start working as soon as possible, but as I tell most patients, this is a marathon we’re running.

It doesn’t do much good if you fall and hurt yourself (literally and figuratively) in the first mile.


Take a Deep Breath

If you start to get side effects, such as paranoia, anxiety, or hallucinations, take slow deep breaths, count to twenty, and try to remain calm.

Also realize that the side effects are generally not life threatening and will wear off in about 8 hours for tinctures and about 12 hours for edibles.

We advise that any time you increase a dose, please do so around a trusted friend or family member who can help you deal with any potential side effects.

While the side effects can be distressing, most people will get through the episode without any long term problems.



Along with the above tips, finding an experienced medical marijuana doctor is key to using THC safely and effectively.

For more information and advice on medical marijuana, please read our other articles.

Thanks for reading


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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana