The equivalency factor is not designed to compare the effects of cannabis oil to dried cannabis, or provide dosage information. For many patients, consuming cannabis orally will produce much stronger effects than inhaling it. For example, when considering a product that has an equivalency factor of 12ml of oil to 1 gram of dried cannabis, and a patient who usually consumes 1 gram of dried product a day, this patient will likely use less than 12 ml of oil per day. Even for patients who have previous experience of using cannabis oil, it is recommend that you start with a low dose and go slow.
In most countries it is forbidden to create oil from cannabis, because cannabis is a controlled substance (i.e. illegal drug). However, CBD, unlike THC, is not a controlled drug, and regulations are minimal by comparison in many places around the world. This has led to the appearance of numerous CBD-rich extracts on the international market. Most of these extracts contain low levels of CBD and high levels of CBD-acid, the natural constituent of the fresh cannabis plant before it is heated.
In order to create a system where oils can be provided to patients when the original prescription is expressed in grams of dried product, each Licensed Producer must provide an ‘Equivalency Factor’. This allows you to see how much oil you can purchase to be in line with your prescription and ensures that you do not go over your prescribed allowance. For example, a 60ml bottle of Blueberry Lamsbread Cannabis Oil, which has an equivalency factor of 12 ml of oil to 1 gram of dried cannabis, will use 5 grams of your possession limit.
Typically, pharmaceutical companies making cannabis-based medicines have sought to isolate individual compounds from the plant. But Mechoulam strongly suspects that in some cases those chemicals would work much better in concert with other compounds found in marijuana. He calls this the entourage effect, and it’s just one of the many cannabis mysteries that he says require further study.
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