The therapeutic window refers to the period where therapeutic effects can be measured and observed. Throughout the time span of a therapeutic window, the precise dose range of a medication or drug is activated and potent enough to be measured, but at the same time, not high enough to produce negative side effects.
Individuals that have never tried cannabis will typically have a very thin and narrow therapeutic window, while regular users will have a much broader therapeutic window. This is mainly because people tend to develop a tolerance to the effects of cannabis at differing rates from each other. Many tend to build a tolerance to the unwanted effects much faster than the desirable effects. The therapeutic window is useful in determining if a dose modification is required for people using medication.
If a medical cannabis user is consuming cannabis for pain and there are no positive differences within the therapeutic window, then the dosing might have to be adjusted. Dosing is the biggest factor in medical cannabis use in reaping the most beneficial results while experiencing the least unfavorable effects. Many patients will use very small amounts of cannabis and while feeling the positive effects while others require very high doses. Patients will typically do the best at the lowest effective dose.
In a study conducted on 263 cancer patients that were treated with opioids, a group that received 21mg of combined THC and CBD every day experienced the biggest improvements and reduction in pain levels. The results showed that the lower dose of 21 mg was even more effective than the group of patients that were receiving 52 mg daily. Even further, the last group that received 83 mg daily experience more negative effects with no more reduction in pain than the placebo group.