The dose sizes described below are based on personal experience. Not everyone will respond in the exact same way, but a majority of the people who the author has consulted agree they are a good starting point.
Provided they are prepared correctly, mixing cannabis with oil or another substance that allows it to be absorbed by the body when eaten, instead of butter, will result in products that are effective in the dose ranges listed below.
Besides smoking or vaporizing, other forms of cannabis ingestion for pain relief (like capsules, paste, tinctures, etcetera) should be effective in similar dose sizes, but may necessitate altering the amounts slightly to obtain satisfactory results.
Instructions on how to make marijuana butter are located here. Items required include marijuana, butter, a stove, some additional kitchen utensils.
Personally for dealing with chronic pain, a 1/2 to 3/4 gram dose of marijuana butter produces an analgesic effect equal to about 5-10 milligrams of immediate release oxycodone or 20-30 milligrams of time release morphine.
The analgesic effect of mj butter lasts about 4-6 hours, then another dose might be needed. Sometimes the pain relief is enough to get through the day on a single dose.
A 1/2 gram dose, sometimes as little as 1/4 gram, is good on less painful days while up to 3/4 gram doses are required on more painful days.
Doses of a gram or more do reduce pain more than smaller doses, but because of the potency, mental and physical impairment can become an issue.
People who take narcotic medication for any purpose other than pain relief, will probably get little or no benefit from consuming marijuana butter. It does not produce the same level of euphoria as opioids.
Side effects can be a problem if large amounts of marijuana butter are ingested daily. Cloudy thinking and being lethargic are possible when marijuana butter is consumed, especially on a daily basis.
For this reason, kiff butter or hash oil butter are recommended for people who will be taking it one or more times per day. Both kiff butter and hash oil butter usually reduce problems associated with impaired thinking, when compared to marijuana butter.
Also, most people find that kiff butter and hash oil butter are more physically and mentally stimulating than marijuana butter. So they might be a better choice when you have to take cannabis pain meds before work or activities.
Hashish, more commonly called hash is primarily a collection of marijuana trichomes that contain large concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes, that have been pressed into a cohesive mass.
Kiff is primarily a collection of marijuana trichomes that contain large concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes, that have not been pressed into a cohesive mass.
Pressing kiff powder together is one method of hashish production, so hashish and kiff are basically the same thing, with hash being pressed together while kiff is a powder. Instructions for making kiff or hash butter can be found here.
Personally for dealing with chronic pain, a 1/4 to 1/2 gram dose of kiff butter produces an analgesic effect equal to about 10-20 milligrams of immediate release oxycodone or 30-40 milligrams of time release morphine. The analgesic effect lasts 4-6 hours or longer.
A 1/4 gram dose is good on less painful days while up to 1/2 gram doses are required on more painful days. Doses larger than 1/2 gram do reduce pain more than smaller doses, but because of the potency, mental and physical impairment can become an issue.
For myself, marijuana butter does not provide the same degree of pain relief. It does reduce pain but to get the same analgesic action as 1/2 gram of kiff butter, the amount of marijuana butter needed causes too much impairment to function.
In my case, the hash oil butter dose size needed to produce adequate pain reduction is in the range of 1/10 to 1/5 of a gram. 1/10 of a gram on less painful days and 1/5 of a gram on more painful days.
A 1/10 of a gram dose of hash oil produces analgesia equal to about a 1/4 gram dose of kiff butter. While a 1/5 of a gram dose of hash oil produces analgesia equal to about a 1/2 gram dose of kiff butter.
Effects of hash oil butter are pretty much the same as those of kiff butter. Again, in comparison to marijuana butter, hash oil butter causes less mental interference and more physical stimulation. Info on making hash oil butter is here.
Assuming the marijuana, hash, or hash oil you get is from a reliable source and comparable to medical grade, the amounts above should be a good starting point. Less potent material will require larger doses.
Smoking cannabis products like marijuana, hashish, hash oil are an effective way to treat pain for some people. However, for most individuals, smoking cannabis products by themselves does not provide adequate pain relief.
For people taking narcotic pain medications, also called opioids, smoking cannabis products when an opioid medication starts to work, or when the effects start to subside can increase the potency or duration of the opioid medication, respectively.
This manner of smoking cannabis to amplify or extend the pain reducing properties of opioid pain medications can result in the need for smaller amounts of, potentially more dangerous, opioid medications.
When prepared correctly cannabis products that are eaten, drunk, or consumed in a manner that allows them to be absorbed through the gastrointestinal track (stomach and intestines), it can reduce or eliminate the need for opioids for some individuals.
If you are contemplating the use of opioid medications to relieve pain, but have never tried them before, a safer option might be eating some form of cannabis.
With cannabis edibles, tolerance is not an issue. Once you find a dose size that reduces pain to a level you are comfortable with, maintaining the same size dose on a daily basis will not require larger and larger amounts as time passes.
An overdose of cannabis causing death has never been recorded. Although it is technically possible, the amount of cannabis you would have to consume would probably make you throw up, before you could digest enough to be fatal.
Consuming cannabis products daily for months or years can result in addiction. Although withdrawal is unpleasant, the worst of it is over in about 3-5 days. Pain will return soon after your last dose wears off.
You may have a hard time sleeping, dreams may be more vivid and frightening, leg and other cramps may develop, concentration and thinking may be difficult, other problems may result.
But in relation to opioid addiction, most individuals find marijuana addiction is greasy kid stuff. With opioids, it can take a year or longer to get back to normal, if you have been using daily for years and stop.
The main drawback to using cannabis products for my personal pain relief is there is a certain limit to how much pain they can control.
In my case they can only provide a maximum amount of pain relief equal to about 20 milligrams of instant release oxycodone or 40 milligrams of time release morphine.
For someone taking larger amounts of opioid pain medication, eating cannabis butter might not be strong enough to provide adequate levels of pain relief.
For instance someone who was taking 30 mg doses, or larger, of instant release oxycodone every 8 hours would probably not be able to ingest cannabis products instead and obtain the same amount of pain relief.
But people who take small doses, or are thinking of taking small doses, of narcotic medication for pain relief might find eating cannabis butter reduces, or eliminates, the need for stronger drugs.
Prior to eating cannabis butter for the first time, my doctor had prescribed small doses of opioid pain medication, which had been taken 1-2 times daily for 10 years. Cannabis products were smoked to increase the pain reducing properties of opioids.
Kiff butter was ingested and about an hour after eating it, pain started to subside. After about 90-120 minutes the relative level of chronic pain had been reduced from a relative level of 8, to about 4.
It worked so good that for 7 days after no opioid medication was taken, just 1/4 to 1/2 gram doses of kiff butter. With no withdrawal problems. Since then opioids are consumed in smaller quantities once or twice a week.
Anyone who has taken opioid pain medications like codeine, oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, daily for 10 years knows it is near impossible to stop taking them cold turkey.
The fact that there were absolutely no withdrawal symptoms while pain relief was provided by kiff butter, when opioids were stopped completely, was perplexing, After some research the reason why became clear.
THC, CBD, and perhaps other cannabinoids and terpenes, bind to cannabis receptors and other neuroreceptors in the human body. Cannabidiol (CBD) indirectly influences mu and delta opioid receptors, two of the same receptors that opioids affect.
It must be stressed that in the preceding years, opioid consumption was kept to a minimum. Most days 2 mersyndol pills (each pill contains 8 mg codeine, 325 mg acetaminophen, 5 mg doxylamine succinate) were taken every 8-12 hours.
In addition to that, on average every 3-5 days a single dose of 10-20 mg immediate release oxycodone or 30-40 mg time release morphine or 2-4 mg instant release hydromorphone was necessary.
Sometimes a week could go by and it was possible to get by on codeine alone, while other times the stronger meds were required daily, for no more than 3 days in a row. But opioids were taken everyday for 10+ years.
People who take small doses of narcotic medication for pain relief might find some form of cannabis butter can help them reduce or fully eliminate the need for stronger drugs.
People who take narcotic medications for any purpose other than pain relief, will probably get little or no benefit from consuming cannabis like this, it does not produce the level of euphoria that stronger narcotics do.