When it comes to cannabinoid wellness and utilizing products like CBD, you will often hear the term “therapeutic window”. What is the therapeutic window and why should we know about it?
Therapeutic Window is a term that describes the range between the lowest effective amount and the highest level that – when crossed – produces unwanted or undesirable effects. The optimal intake is the lowest amount it takes to achieve desired results.
This “window” or “range” is different for each person as there are countless variables that can influence how someone receives or enjoys cannabinoid compounds. Some of those variables include medical history, current medications, chosen compounds, and amount enjoyed.
Another reason why it varies from person to person is that the body’s endocannabinoid system is sensitive. Designed to maintain balance – homeostasis – within, it acts much like a conductor directing a symphony, synchronizing on the cellular level for you to feel your most optimal self. This system includes the endogenous cannabinoid compounds that your body makes, the receptors that they match to and the enzymes that break it all down when done working. The endocannabinoid compounds we make are designed to “modulate by activating the cannabinoid receptors”. These receptors are also activated by plant cannabinoids (exogenous cannabinoids) like CBD and THC (1).
The receptors (CB1 and CB2) are found throughout the body. This includes the central nervous system, the sensory neurons of the dorsal root (a group of cells that transmit sensory messages), the peripheral nervous system as well as in specialized cells that destroy unwanted invaders (like bacteria) called Macrophages. While CB1 is found throughout the brain and spinal cord, CB2 receptors are throughout the peripheral system and they “increase in response to peripheral nerve damage” (1).
With the ECS ready to match them, plant cannabinoids work with the system much as its own endogenous cannabinoids do, aligning with receptors and completing tasks as it can. However, if too many cannabinoid compounds are taken in, these receptors can retreat and degrade, causing unwanted results.
This is why knowing your own therapeutic window is important. Not one body is the same and one person’s systems will not be the same as another’s. The sensitivity of the ECS, along with issues and history, can make for an unpleasant experience. Many people have that friend with the story about how they tried cannabis products and it made them “freak out” or feel worse, and that is an indicator of too much.
In fact, according to one study which included universities like Harvard and Syracuse, it was stated that “preclinical studies demonstrate a narrow therapeutic window” with this particular plant compound family, leading many scientists and researchers to feel that less may be, actually, more effective for certain issues and ailments overall.
How can you determine your own window?
When starting to add cannabinoid wellness products like CBD to your routine, it is important to – firstly – be open and honest with your physician. While many are nervous about asking their doctor about products like CBD, it is necessary so that they, too, can grow in their own understanding of the compounds. This also allows for your doctor to be a part of the wellness conversation should they feel that there may be a potential interaction or effect that they would like to look out for.
When shopping, choose products that are available from reputable companies like Kurativ. You can find our third-party results on our website, or you can use the camera on your smartphone to leap from the package's QR code to necessary information about what product you’re enjoying.
It is also advised that you start with a smaller amount and wait to see how you feel. As the optimal amount is considered the least amount it takes to get your desired result, it is important to be aware of how much you have already enjoyed and in which delivery method. Edible treats like gummies will take up to an hour to feel potential results whereas sublingual (under the tongue) oils are often felt by consumers in minutes. Start with a low amount and slowly add more, as needed – over time.
Naturally, if you feel any adverse effects or undesirable results, stop consuming the product.
Once you have found that right amount and formulation type and combination that works for you, feel free to try other delivery methods to see what matches your needs and your lifestyle.
(1) Hill KP, Palastro MD, Johnson B, Ditre JW. Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):96-104. Published 2017 May 1. doi:10.1089/can.2017.0017