Measuring the right dosage can be tough for cannabis patients who take their medicine in puffs instead of pills. That's why metered dosing is becoming more popular in the medical market, where relief of symptoms is the primary reason for consuming medical marijuana in the first place.
One of the leaders of the emerging trend is Rob Adelson, CEO of Resolve Digital Health. When Adelson noticed that there was a surprising lack of precision when it came to prescribing and using medical marijuana, he and his company set out to change that.
“It was really clear patients were not going into the world of cannabis for fun,” he told Civilized. “They weren't inventing health conditions to get a license. These people were going through serious health conditions and cannabis was really helping.”
Adelson doesn’t like the term 'microdosing.' He feels that it’s too unscientific, and gives off the impression that taking really small doses is always better.
“What happens is there is a specific dose you need, and I think what's going on is people are taking way too much, and then they are finding that when they back off, [the cannabis] actually works better.”
Resolve Digital Health works off the idea of a specific therapeutic dose for each person’s symptoms, which can vary widely between patients.
Their technology involves a smart vaporizer specifically designed to minimize lung irritation. It works with their own patented cannabis pods, which allow the dosing to be very exact.
This works in conjunction with an app, accessible both on a smartphone and on the vaporizer itself, which collects data on how well the dose works as far as symptom relief, and uses a number of algorithms to refine the dosage alongside the patient’s doctor.
“We think functionality is just as important as pain management,” Adelson said. “If they want to be coherent throughout the day, be able to manage their pain, and be able to function, be able to be with their kids, be able to go to the grocery store, that’s important.”
The technology is preparing for a soft launch later this year, but Adelson says that his beta testers have found it very effective. He also adds that there is value for this technology in the recreational market as well.
“You look at the number of people in North America who are drinking a lot every day or caffeinating themselves every day,” he said. “A lot of people are looking for help to balance out their moods and to improve their experience day to day.”
“Cannabis can be an amazing tool for that, but you need to know what to take, when to take it, and how much to take.”
Many Are Still in the Dark about Dosage
In both the medical and recreational market, understanding dosage is becoming more important. However, BDS Analytics notes that while consumers are becoming more knowledgeable, the majority of people don’t fully understand how dosing works.
One third of American cannabis users don’t know what their preferred dosage is, according to BDS. They also found that 19 percent say their preferred dose is less than five mg per day, 28 percent say the desired dosage is between 5 to 20 mg, and just over a quarter of users prefer consume more than 20 mg of cannabis per day.
And Canadians are even less knowledgeable about dosing than Americans, according to Linda Gilbert - the Managing Director of the Consumer Insights division for BDS Analytics .
“I don’t want to overstate that, though” she told Civilized. “They’re not knowledgeable, but they are more knowledgeable than Canadians. But there is still an awful lot of confusion.”
Gilbert suggests that companies should take notice and alter their packaging so that consumers are more aware of the dosage and potential effects of what they’re purchasing.
“Consumers don’t want to have to do the homework to figure that out,” she said. “They want to have communications that tell them what to expect.”
Making the extra effort to inform consumers would also appeal to lawmakers who are anxious about unintended consequences of cannabis legalization - like the spike in hospital visits that Colorado saw because of inadequate packaging and labelling requirements for edibles.
Educating consumers about dosing could be the best way to make those hospital visits a thing of the past - just like cannabis prohibition.