Cannabis edibles are more popular than ever, both because they come in a wider range of flavors and varieties than ever before and because they offer a unique experience compared to smoking cannabis. However, if you plan to get into cannabis edibles or try some out at an upcoming party for the first time, you should understand some key dosage rules beforehand.
Understanding THC dosage in cannabis edibles will help you avoid overdosing and make sure that your first edible experience is enjoyable instead of disappointing or unpleasant.
What Are Dosages for Cannabis Edibles?
Cannabis edibles can be a fun and tasty treat to enjoy at any party or to make for yourself while relaxing on the weekend. But it’s important to understand how to dose cannabis edibles correctly, whether you’re making your own edibles from scratch (which can be fulfilling and fun) or purchasing edibles with dosage strength information on the packaging.
In a nutshell, cannabis edibles are dosed according to THC content. THC is the psychoactive part of cannabis, including marijuana leaves and other MJ-derived products. So when you make cannabis edibles or dose them appropriately, you’re not really dosing for how much marijuana is included – you’re dosing for THC content.
What Makes Edibles Different from Smoking Cannabis?
It’s important to do this for a few big reasons. For starters, eating edibles creates a significantly different experience compared to smoking MJ products. Whatever you smoke or vague cannabis, the THC and other compounds are absorbed through your lungs. The resulting experience is pretty quick but you also get over it relatively fast.
When you eat an edible, cannabis and THC are absorbed through your digestive system, which means your body absorbs it in a totally different way. These differences include:
- It takes longer before you feel the effects of an edible
- The effects last for longer in your system
- Many people report the effects from edibles being more intense than the effects from smoked weed
As a result, it’s really important to dose THC correctly when making your own edibles and when choosing edibles at a store. If you aren’t careful, you might accidentally give yourself too intense of an experience and end up with some uncomfortable side effects while your body works through the THC.
Good news; even if you do end up overdosing, having a little too much THC isn’t usually a big deal. But it does mean you have to spend at least several hours recovering, similarly to how you would have to recover after ingesting too much alcohol.
How Long Does a High from Edibles Last?
Edibles are often chosen by cannabis fans since it takes a good little while for the effects to kick in. Some edibles may take up to three hours for you to feel the full effects. But once you do eat an edible, you should expect to feel between 3-6 hours of mild effects at a minimum.
Fortunately, you don’t have to include tons of THC in any given edible for you to get a great high. In fact, many people deliberately micro-dose or ingest very small concentrations of THC in their edibles specifically because the effects are usually more intense compared to smoking pot.
Dosing Cannabis Edibles – A Guide
Interested in learning what the correct THC dosages are when making your own pot brownies or picking up a package of tasty cannabis edibles from your favorite brand? Here’s a brief but detailed breakdown of different common THC dosage levels, including their effects and what you can expect.
1-2.5 mg of THC
Edibles with 1-2.5 mg of THC are perfect if you’re a beginner to cannabis edibles. It doesn’t matter if you have already been smoking pot for some time; you’ll want to take things slow and get your body used to edibles before you move up to higher concentration products.
Between 1 and 2.5 mg of THC is perfect for micro-dosing or for first-time cannabis users, particularly if the user in question hasn’t smoked any weed before as well. Even with this mild dosage, it’s enough THC to give you mild relief from annoying symptoms like minor pain, plus boost your creativity and improve your focus.
In other words, it’s a perfect amount for general fun and relaxation or for chill parties where you don’t want people to be so out of their minds that things get a bit rowdy or unfocused.
2.5-15 mg of THC
The next general dosage level is between 2.5 and 15 mg of THC. This is ideal for folks who already have a little experience with cannabis edibles and who are looking for some stronger effects.
It’s particularly good for stronger symptom relief, plus even more effects to your perceptions. If you have persistent symptoms, like chronic pain, this may be the THC level you want to target. It can also be effective for easing you into sleep if you’re using THC products for this purpose.
That said, 2.5-15 mg of THC is also enough to impair your coordination to some extent. It’s not recommended that you drive or do any technical tasks if you eat a cannabis edible with this concentration of THC.
30-50 mg of THC
30-50 mg of THC is where edibles start becoming more intense. We would only recommend this THC dosage level for experienced edible users who want something more enjoyable and fun, particularly if their systems have built up a level of tolerance to smaller amounts of THC so far.
30 to 50 mg of THC is enough to produce strong euphoria and significantly alter your perceptions. It may be a good choice for those suffering from serious sleep problems or folks who want to make a hangout session more interesting. However, keep in mind that folks who have a low tolerance level to THC or cannabis in general might feel some negative effects, including paranoia or nausea.
50+ mg of THC
Any edibles with 50 or more milligrams of THC are intense by definition. Edibles with this concentration of THC are only recommended for folks who have a high tolerance to THC in the first place or if you happen to have really poor absorption in your gastrointestinal tract, which is the case for a small percentage of people.
If you eat an edible with this much THC, expect significantly altered perceptions and really bad coordination. But you’ll also feel much higher euphoria than you would otherwise. As with the previous level of THC concentration, those who have mild negative effects of cannabis consumption should stay away since any negative effects will likely be exacerbated.
Anything above 100 mg of THC is usually only reserved for medical purposes, especially since some negative side effects from consuming too much marijuana become more apparent. Suffice it to say that you should stay away from dosing your own cannabis edibles with over 100 mg of THC under all circumstances.
How to Try Cannabis Edibles for the First Time?
What if you haven’t tried cannabis edibles before and don’t know what your system can take or how much THC you need to absorb before you feel the desired effects?
In this case, you should still try to avoid overdosing by taking multiple doses or eating multiple edibles in rapid succession. If you haven’t tried cannabis edibles before and don’t feel any effects from a small dosage (i.e. 1 mg or so of THC) edible, eat a snack like an apple or a cracker to get your digestive system up and running and speed up the absorption of the edible already in your gut.
Even with this trick, you might need to take two or three micro-doses before you start to feel things. It’s still better to start off slow and try the same low-dose edible a few times instead of jumping straight into the 10 mg or more dosage range.
Remember, when it comes to cannabis edibles, you can always eat more edibles to get the desired effects. But you can’t reverse the effects of edibles that you have already consumed. So it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and ease yourself into higher concentrations of THC over time.
There’s No Perfect Dosage for Everyone
Another important thing to remember regarding cannabis edible dosages is that you may have to tweak the above chart depending on your unique biology, the ingredients used in the edibles you consume, and more. The above chart is best understood as a basic guideline as opposed to an ironclad rule.
For example, many people who have experience smoking marijuana products, and especially concentrated cannabis products like weed dab, can handle higher edible dosages right off the bat. On the flip side, some experienced cannabis smokers might still find that orally-taken cannabis just doesn’t agree with their digestive system, so they might need to stick with micro-dosing forever.
Bottom line: there’s no perfect dosage chart everyone can follow. It’ll take a little experimentation to find the perfect dosage level for your unique needs.
Tips for Dosing Your Own Cannabis Edibles
Making your own edibles can be great fun, but you have to know how to dose your weed brownies or cookies correctly unless you want to surprise yourself and your friends.
Firstly, become familiar with how potent your chosen marijuana flowers. Different marijuana species or strains can have different THC potency levels. Remember that the majority of modern MJ is much more potent than weed from 40 or so years ago.
When preparing your own cannabis edibles, you can use weed flowers to create THC-infused butter or oil. Heat the crushed flower up with a carrier fat. You won’t be able to extract THC directly from raw cannabis, as it comes in a different form called THCA. To get the THC and infuse it into your baked goods or other snacks, you’ll need to practice decarboxylation.
In a nutshell, this involves heating up the cannabis flower in the carrier oil so you extract pure THC. Try heating your cannabis flower at around 230°F for 100 minutes or so for the best cannabis to THC ratio. Note that there is some THC lost during the decarboxylation process. This is an inevitable fact of chemistry, so you have to calculate how much THC you’ll really get from your marijuana flower when heating it up.
When making your own cannabis edibles, be conservative when it comes to adding THC to your snacks. 5-20 mg is the average amount of THC included even in commercial edibles, so you should definitely stick to this when experimenting in your kitchen.
Furthermore, you should be conservative when you estimate how efficient your THC extraction methods are. For example, if your marijuana strain will theoretically provide 60% of its THC after decarboxylation, be conservative and assume that it’ll actually extract 80% or 90%. This will prevent you from accidentally overdosing your newly created edibles.
Here’s a hypothetical example:
- You have 10 g of crushed marijuana flower that contains 20% THC
- If you were to extract all the THC inside, that would theoretically give you 2000 mg of THC
- But estimate that you’ll only get 90% of the THC after decarboxylating the flower, leaving you with 1800 mg of THC instead
- After extracting the THC in oil or butter, you’ll lose more THC (about 40%), leaving you with 1080 mg of THC
- If you were to split that up evenly, you can have 216 portions of pot brownies or cookies that each has 5 mg of THC
As you can see, figuring out dosages for cannabis edibles made in your own kitchen can be tricky. But you’ll become more proficient at it as you practice and as you learn what strains of marijuana are best used for making edibles, particularly when it comes to preserving THC content.
All in all, take things slowly and be willing to microdoses and experiment when enjoying cannabis edibles. Edibles are a great way to enjoy MJ in a new way, especially if you already have lots of experience smoking cannabis regularly.