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Why There Should be a Standard Measurement for a Single THC Dose

January 28, 2021 03:30 pm ET
Why There Should be a Standard Measurement for a Single THC Dose

A study published in the Wiley-Blackwell Online Open looked into the significance of having a standard unit dose for cannabis research. The study opened by stating that “a standardized measure for delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in cannabis products is necessary to advance research both on the adverse effects of cannabis and on the drug’s potential medical uses”. The current inability to standardize cannabis has been one of the main reasons behind hesitation to legalize the substance. Finding a standard unit of measurement for any cannabis compound will make it easier to consider legalization, administer, and improve research. Just like the list of therapeutic properties of cannabis seems to be ever-growing, so does the diversity of cannabis products on market. Researchers Volkow and Weiss sought out to establish the importance of standardizing measurements due to the fact that there is an increasing diversity of cannabis products. 

Tom Freeman and Valentina Lorenzetti have proposed a standard dose for cannabis products, regardless of their method of consumption. They suggested that  “a standard of THC unit should be fixed at 5mg THC for all cannabis products and methods of administration”. Their recommended dosage of THC in cannabis products is based on the rationale that this minimal dosage amount has psychoactive effects regarding the route of consumption but that this same dosage is “devoid of adverse effects”. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has been supporting the fact that standard measurements are needed in order to facilitate research on cannabis. The agency’s document on cannabis policy research stated that,

“Standardized measures of cannabis use frequency, amount, product form, administration method, and dose are most needed to gain a more complete understanding of use and its outcomes”. NIDA continues on to explain that “standardized measures for light, moderate, regular, heavy, and chronic use are needed to consider not just the recentness and frequency of use but also the form, amount and, in particular, amount per use episode”.

While NIDA makes some good points, there is another study that explains how “having and using a standard is a prerequisite for comparing the effects of various cannabis products on THC bioavailability, pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effect”

The Importance of Standard Measurement

  • Having a standard measurement will guide consumers towards safer patterns of cannabis use. 
  • Regulated doses of THC also mean that the risks of experiencing adverse effects is reduced due to the fact that the consumer will not be consuming cannabis that is unknowingly too potent.
  • Standardized measurements of cannabinoids will make research results more consistent and thus more reliable. 
  • Standardizing doses of cannabinoids will make it easier for consumers to think of cannabis and use cannabis in terms of a standard dose. This will assist with the risks of misuse. For this point, think of cannabis being regulated like a standard alcohol beverage is. 
  • Standardized units of measurements will make it easier for governing bodies to control substance use and to set standards of cannabis levels in bodies for certain situations such as alcohol has for driving. 
  • Having standardized units of measurement is important for getting a better understanding of cannabis interactions, exposure, intoxication, and impairment. This is especially important since there is currently very little known in this regard. 
  • Another major point of importance for standardizing doses of cannabinoids is that so much of the current, and past, research is being conducted using cannabinoids with low-THC but so many of the products on the market today contain higher levels of THC
  • Standardizing the measurements of cannabis means that researchers can accurately get a better understanding of some of the major areas of concern such as the impact of cannabis use on brain development as well as understanding exactly how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. 

How Standardization Will Make Things Easier:

  • It provides consistency as everyone will be talking about and using the same standard for dose. 
  • It provides extra safety and protection for the consumers. 
  • It provides the government with a manner to control the substance, which should make it easier for them to legalize and dispense. 
  • It provides regulation between the products involved in research as well as the products being consumed in real-life. 
  • It provides guidelines for use, which gives back a certain amount of power to the consumer as they can better judge the expected effects. 
  • It provides the means necessary for researchers to be able to conduct more studies on cannabis as the standardization of cannabis has been an issue for many researchers. 

Simply put, standardizing the unit of measurement for cannabinoids, particularly THC, will allow researchers to conduct and conclude for accurate and consistent research as well as providing consumers with safety, certainty, and control. The standardization importance concerning consumer safety comes in as dose guidelines will help keep cannabis consumers safe from accidentally consuming too much or experiencing increased adverse side effects. If you haven’t noticed by now, most of the available research and studies on cannabis conclude by stating that more research is necessary in order to better understand that aspect of the research/study, well hopefully by regulating the measurements of cannabis units, researchers will be able to conduct or access that “more research”.

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