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Medical Cannabis users obtain products in a way that differs from traditional prescription drugs. For starters, it can be recommended or advised as a therapeutic treatment for a full range of conditions, but doctors don’t write out prescriptions the same way they do for something like antibiotics. This can lead to some patients self-dosing. We want you to know that self-dosing medical marijuana is not wise.

Self-dosing is the practice of determining for yourself how much Medical Marijuana to use and how often you use it. The law already requires doctors to determine dosage for everything from penicillin to opioid painkillers. There are actually good reasons for this. Those same reasons apply to Medical Marijuana. Doctors, NPs, PAs, and pharmacists are in the best position to determine dosage.

Marijuana Is a Drug

We all know that marijuana is a drug regardless of whether it’s used for medical purposes or as a recreational substance. It’s a drug that has a number of known effects on the brain. So it’s just not smart to use Medical Marijuana in a way that doesn’t take full advantage of its medical benefits. This is where dosage comes in.

You might be hoping that Medical Marijuana can help ease your chronic pain. Our doctors would want to know what’s causing your chronic pain before advising you to apply for a Utah Medical Marijuana Card. They would want to know if there are other therapies you could look at. In simple terms, QMPs look at a full range of factors that could affect how medical marijuana works for their patients.

What Doctors Look At When Determining Dose

Let’s assume that you suffer from one of the conditions under which Utah law recognizes therapeutic Medical Marijuana. You see one of our doctors prior to filling out the state application. The doctor is going to look at a number of things:

  • Your Condition – It’s a doctor’s job to verify that you have the condition you believe qualifies you for a Medical Marijuana Card. Making sure actually protects both of you. In addition, the doctor’s understanding of your condition will partially determine the products you use.
  • Your Body Weight – Medical Marijuana is similar to most other drugs in that its effectiveness is tied to body weight. Your weight will impact the amount of cannabis you need to realize its benefits. Only a QMP can truly make that call.
  • Your Body Chemistry – A doctor will want to learn as much as possible about your general reaction to medications. Why? Because people react to Medical Cannabis in different ways. How you react will not only affect dosage, but also the actual products you purchase. No single cannabis product is right for every condition or patient.
  • Your Delivery Method – Medical Marijuana’s effectiveness is partially related to the delivery method a patient chooses. You might choose a capsule, a liquid, etc. A doctor will have a good idea of the effective dosage of each form. He or she should be able to tell you how much to use and how often you should use it.

In relation to this last point, don’t ever assume dosage is the same across multiple delivery methods. If your doctor recommends a particular dosage for a capsule, don’t assume the dosage is the same with a liquid. Any decision to change delivery method should be put on hold until you can talk things over with a QMP.

Remember that self-dosing Medical Marijuana is not wise. Marijuana is a drug no different from any other. Work with your doctor to determine the right dosage. If you have further questions please reach out to us or visit one of our clinic locations. We’re always excited to help!

2 responses to “Why Self-Dosing Medical Marijuana is Not Wise”

  1. Unfortunately, with the delay implementing the program Utah is still quite a bit behind the times. Considering the progress that any individual can make once they’re authorized for medicinal marijuana and are able to give it a try, that is when the learning curve comes in to play. From terpenes that will affect just about everyone differently to dose response, the ultimate way to find what works is by working with your medical provider and pharmacist to find what works for you. How fortunate it is that we know what we know about marijuana compared to pharmaceutical alternatives like opioids or benzodiazepines and that the therapeutic window of marijuana allows for the process of trial and error. I can only imagine how things could have evolved if we were now perhaps several years in to the program that allowed for treatment with medicinal marijuana, but even so I am glad to now have another tool available to help me find relief during those moments when the discomfort knocks me down. It’s now an option in Utah, much as I was certain it would never happen, and I’m thankful to those that have made it happen.

    My hope is that the future will allow for better product selection and delivery mechanism, but I’m confident that there are folks in power with care and decency enough to recognize that more still needs to be done. We shouldn’t be limited to the selection of what is available in Utah, especially when we’ve found something that works that isn’t available in our state.

    Even here in Utah, though, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to find a QMP that has been able to be part of the team that I know has helped to educate and treat me effectively and responsibly.

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