The world of cannabis medicines can get overwhelming, to say the least, especially if you’re trying medical cannabis products in India for the first time. There is a not-so-long but equally important checklist of information you should have a grasp on before you begin your medical cannabis journey.
In this article, we list down the 5 steps you can follow to pick the right medical cannabis product in India.
5 Steps to Select the Right Medical Cannabis Product
Step 1: Understand Different Chemical Profiles of Cannabis
The cannabis plant contains over 500 different types of chemical compounds, each with its own properties. Approximately 118 of these belong to the category of cannabinoids. The most common ones are THC and CBD.
With ongoing research, we are also learning about the therapeutic benefits of other cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, THCV, etc. A number of different, unique formulations can be prepared by experimenting with the different amounts of these cannabinoids.
Each formulation will show specific effects depending on the cannabinoid(s) which is dominant in it.
Understanding the basics of these formulations is the first step towards choosing the right medical cannabis product. While choosing a medical cannabis product in India, there is no one-fits-all solution.
Here is a quick list of the most common CBD-THC ratios available in India:
- 1:1; Balanced: an extract containing equal amounts of CBD and THC. This ratio is considered to be the most effective for treating pain.
- 2:1; CBD-dominant: extract in which the amount of CBD is twice as much as THC. This ratio helps with anxiety, depression, autoimmune disorders, etc.
- 4:1; CBD-dominant: this ratio contains high amounts of CBD and moderate amounts of THC. This works well for people who have moderate tolerance for THC.
- 1:4; THC-dominant: a ratio that contains 4 times the amount of THC than CBD. This ratio is highly intoxicating in nature and is recommended for advanced medical conditions such as stage 4 cancers and Parkinson’s.
- 1:2; THC-dominant: a ratio in which the amount of THC is twice the amount of CBD. This ratio is moderately intoxicating and helps with conditions such as chronic pain, MS, cancer pain management, etc.
Step 2: Finding the Chemical Profile that is Most Suited for You
Once you have an understanding of the different chemical profiles of medical cannabis products in India, you need to identify the one that is most suitable for your medical condition.
Every cannabinoid has its respective properties and interacts with the human body accordingly. Some cannabinoids are more suitable for a particular medical condition than others.
For example, medical cannabis products in India with a high amount of CBD prove to be highly effective for patients with Epilepsy. On the other hand, formulations that have a high amount of THC are usually preferred by patients with chronic pain.
Medical cannabis products in India are remarkably nuanced in that each patient can benefit from different ratios and doses for different conditions.
Scientific suggestions aside, the personal preferences and individual physiology of each patient should also be taken into amount. If you are completely just beginning using medical cannabis products in India, you may want to opt for a high-CBD formulation irrespective of the condition you have.
At the same time, if you’re challenging a medical condition that may be more responsive to THC, start with a low dosage and gradually work your way up over time.
Step 3: Choose a Delivery System that Best Suits Your Condition, Needs, and Comforts
Surprising as it may sound, it is possible to consume medical cannabis other than smoking it. Presently, there are at least 5 different types of medical cannabis products in India.
Oil Drops and Tinctures
Cannabis oils and tinctures are the most popular alternative to smoking CBD. These are made by mixing one or more cannabis compounds with a carrier oil. CBD oils and tinctures are generally consumed directly but can be added to food and drink items as well.
How to consume?
There are 2 ways to consume medical cannabis oil and tinctures:
- Sublingual consumption: placing the drops under the tongue for 30-45 seconds before swallowing.
- Addition to food: adding the drops to food and drink items such as smoothies, salads, brownies, tea, etc.
Oils and Tinctures come in a glass bottle with a built-in dropper in the cap. This dropper has quantity markings that help measure each dosage.
To state an example, if you have a 30ml bottle of 1500mg, then each mL will contain 1500/30=50mg of CBD. If your dosage is 25mg twice a day, you need to fill half a dropper (till the 0.5ml mark) once in the morning and once at night.
Effect Onset Time
When consumed sublingually, cannabis oils and tinctures are the fastest to show effects. Through sublingual consumption, the cannabinoids enter the bloodstream in 5-7 minutes and the effects are visible within 20 minutes, and they stay in the system for 1-2 hours.
Through this method, cannabinoids take slightly longer to reach the bloodstream and the effects are felt within an hour of consumption. In this case, the effects last for 4-6 hours.
How to consume?
Food edibles are consumed directly, straight out of the jar. In the case of drinks, you may need to steep tea or coffee for a couple of minutes before consumption.
Edibles have a pre-set amount of dosage that remains the same in each serving. Unlike oils and tinctures, each individual dosage does not need to be measured.
To state an example, if you have a pack of 30 gummies with 300mg of CBD, then each gummy contains 300/30=10mg of CBD. If your dosage is 50mg of CBD per day, you need to consume 5 gummies throughout the day.
Similarly, if each 100g pack of tea contains 1000mg of CBD, then 1g will have 1000/100=10mg of CBD. If your dosage is 50 mg of CBD per day, you need to consume 5g of tea throughout the day.
Effect Onset Time
Edibles pass through the liver and the digestive system before entering the bloodstream. This process can take anywhere between 45-60 minutes. Therefore, cannabis edibles take up to 1 hour to show visible effects.
The effects of edibles stay io the system for 4-6 hours.
Cannabis capsules are similar to other pills and tablets we consume except that these contain cannabis formulations. These can be hard or soft-gel and are consumed directly.
How to consume?
Cannabis capsules are swallowed directly, like traditional medicines, with a glass of water.
Just like edibles, capsules also have a pre-set amount of dosage that remains the same in each serving.
To state an example, if you have a pack of 30 capsules with 1500mg of CBD, then each capsule contains 1500/30=50mg of CBD. If your dosage is 50mg of CBD per day, you need to consume 1 capsule in a day.
Effect Onset Time
Capsules pass through the liver and the digestive system before entering the bloodstream. This process can take anywhere between 45-60 minutes. Therefore, cannabis capsules take up to 1 hour to show visible effects.
The effects of capsules stay in the system for 4-6 hours.
Step 4: Prepare for a bit of Trial and Error
The trick with medical cannabis products in India is that there is no standard for everyone. Each body responds to cannabis uniquely.
The strength, dosage, and consumption method of a medical cannabis product can vary according to the nature and severity of the medical condition being targeted, the specific genetics of the body, and other physiological factors such as age, gender, body weight, diet, and lifestyle., etc.
The method of consumption also affects the time cannabis compounds will take to have an effect on the body.
Therefore, before you start using medical cannabis products in India, you should prepare yourself for a little bit of trial and error. You may have to adjust and re-adjust the dosage or use a couple of different delivery methods before finding the one that works the best for you.
Being patient with medical cannabis products is very important.
The safest way to get started with medical cannabis products in India is to consult a cannabis doctor. In India, cannabis leaf (Vijaya) extracts are classified as Ayurvedic medicines and certified ayurvedic doctors can prescribe the same.
You can discuss your problems and concerns with the doctor in detail. The doctor will help you understand how cannabis medication might work for you, the different formulations and products you can try, and the kind of effects to expect.
Be sure to read our guide on What to Expect from a Medical Cannabis Consultation in India for an in-depth understanding.
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