NIDA calls for help to develop a standardized THC dose for edibles

Published Apr 8, 2020 01:00 p.m. ET
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The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced on Monday, March 23rd that they want help to develop a general standard for THC dosage in edibles and other cannabis-infused goods. The hope is providing a standard that would make scientific research more reliable, while they acknowledge that with the vast array of compounds in cannabis that vary, it might be challenging to come up with an ideal dosage, which is why they are asking for help with this endeavor.

What is a standard dosage?

A standard THC dose would be a specific amount of the psychoactive cannabinoid that could be expected to be in certain types of cannabis products. So, for example, drinks would have to abide by a standard THC dosage that remains consistent across all brands, and chocolate would have to do the same. This would result in reliability and predictability that doesn’t exist in the market as we see it today.

The benefits of a standard THC dose

This change would allow customers to have a better understanding of what they’re buying, just like they currently do with beer, and it would help researchers who are racing to uncover potential therapeutic benefits and side effects. Right now, the majority of scientific research shows varied results, and that is believed to be due to a lack of standardization, which could be easily solved with some help.

Who should help?

Right now, Nora Volkow, who is the director of The National Institute on Drug Abuse, says that she likes the idea of a 5mg standard THC dose while pointing towards the results research that seems to show that this dose could be an excellent starting point for everybody, but she’s hoping for an expression of interest from industry experts from all over the world to help. There is no one type of person or position being considered at this time because the goal is to gather opinions and data from those who know cannabis best.

Other needs


Though The National Institute on Drug Abuse has focused on a standard THC dose in their latest talks with media outlets, that’s not all they need. Input on current product labeling rules and any potential changes or adjustments that could be made in order to protect both consumers, vendors, and producers from falling victim to deceit. Feedback on things like unproven health claims, font use, color including, and other important factors are all being considered at this time.

Will this change anything for consumers?

This announcement isn’t intended to have an abrupt influence on the cannabis industry right now, but in the future, it could change quite a lot. Instead of access to edibles with various THC dose levels, consumers might only have one or two to choose from, which is disappointing to many who have grown accustomed to the black market and the vast array of choices available there, but it’s not all doom and gloom.

For the medicinal side of the industry and medical patients, this kind of information is vital for researchers to test dosages, and for doctors to confidently prescribe specific amounts to patients. This means more effective treatments that have endorsement from all medical professionals rather than doctor shopping to get a medical card, and easier access to this therapeutic treatment, in regions that don’t offer medical cannabis.

Recreational users could benefit most from clearer labels that are more honest and transparent, by reducing companies to claims that much be proven before they are printed, which is a goal of The National Institute on Drug Abuse. As we ease into this brand new reality, it is important that we understand all sides of every argument, and in this case, much-needed research indicates that we need to fast track this process so that experts have some form of standardized guidelines to work and test within.

The truth about marijuana edibles


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