At Canify Clinics, we do our best to explain what it means to be a medical cannabis patient in straightforward terms.
If you have any further questions, please contact our support team.
Understanding concentration, ratio, and dose
Here we will help you understand your medical cannabis product. Labels, concentration information, ratios, and dosing can be hard to navigate.
A medical cannabis product can be labelled based on concentrations of cannabinoids (THC and CBD), which are the main active substances in the medicine. ‘Concentration’ means the content of THC and/or CBD per weight or volume of the whole product. The concentration can be given in milligrams per millilitre (mg/ml), milligrams per gram (mg/g) or percentages (%).
The concentration of THC and CBD in cannabis flowers is given as percentage (%) or mg per g of flower.
Sample concentration expressed as a % in 1 gram (1000 mg) of flower:
- 15% THC = (15/100) * 1000 mg = 150 mg of THC in 1 gram of flower
10% CBD = (10/100) * 1000 mg = 100 mg of CBD in 1 gram of flower
Conversion of concentration expressed as % for flowers
Sample concentration expressed as mg/g of flower:
- 150 mg/g THC = 150 mg of THC in 1 gram of flower
- 100 mg/g CBD = 100 mg of CBD in 1 gram of flower
The concentration of THC and CBD in cannabis extracts, such as oils, is given as percentage (%) or mg/ml.
Sample concentration expressed as %:
- 15% THC = 15 g of THC /100 ml = 15000 mg of THC/100 ml = 150 mg of THC in 1 ml of oil
- 2% CBD = 2 g of CBD /100 ml = 2000 mg of CBD/100ml = 20 mg of CBD in 1 ml of oil
Conversion of concentration expressed as % for oil
Sample concentration expressed as mg/ml:
- 150 mg/ml THC = 150 mg of THC in 1 ml of oil
- 20 mg/ml CBD = 20 mg of CBD in 1 ml of oil
The ratio lets you know how much of one substance is present in relation to another. Hence, for cannabis products, it only gives information about the amount of THC and CBD in relation to each other – not what the concentrations of the compounds are.
You can calculate the ratio between THC and CBD in your medical cannabis product if it is not already given by the manufacturer on the label.
Example: THC:CBD ratios
- THC 1:1 CBD has equal parts CBD and THC
- THC 1:3 CBD has three times as much CBD as THC
- THC 4:1 CBD has four times as much THC as CBD
If a product states a concentration of 20 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD per 1 ml oil, the ratio can be found by dividing 20 mg of THC by 10 mg of CBD, which gives 2:1. The product thus contains twice as much THC as CBD.
Please note that the ratio does not tell you anything about the actual concentration of the product. A product with a 2:1 THC:CBD ratio may contain 20 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD, but it may just as well contain other concentrations, such as 200 mg of THC and 100 mg of CBD.
The term ‘dose’ indicates how much medication a patient takes at one time.
A general dosing recommendation for medical cannabis is to ‘start low and go slow’. The correct dosage will be determined in consultation with your doctor. Often, it is necessary to adjust the dose in the beginning to obtain the desired effect. This is often referred to as ‘titration’ of the dose. It is important to wait an appropriate amount of time to assess the effect before taking another dose or increasing the dose. The strategy for dose adjustments will be agreed with your doctor.
Every patient responds differently to medication, and the dose also depends on which route of administration is chosen (inhalation, oral, oromucosal), the patient’s health status, body composition, previous experience with cannabis and more. The experienced effect of the dose will also depend on factors such as the inhalation pattern, any food eaten before and after, etc.
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4. Health Canada. INFORMATION FOR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS. Cannabis (marihuana, marijuana) and the cannabinoids. (2018).
5. Sevigny, E. L. Cannabis and driving ability. Current Opinion in Psychology vol. 38 75–79 (2021).