One of the biggest learning curves for those new to THC is finding the right "dosage." The right amount of THC will vary from person to person for a lot of different reasons (like weight, experience with THC, and even your genetic disposition). Even how you take THC, either through an edible or vaping, can change how much you end up using.
It's important to know how to find the best dosage for you without taking too much (since it can be difficult to sober up from weed). In this article, we'll talk about some general dosing guides to help you get started, what you can do if you think you're too high, and some possible benefits from regularly taking THC.
How Strong Is Your Cannabis-Infused Edible?
Edibles are a fantastic way to enjoy some of the benefits of THC while avoiding some of the harms of smoking it. However, edibles are notorious for providing beginners with an unexpectedly strong high (which we'll talk about more in-depth a bit later). For now, you need to make sure you understand the strength of your edible.
Edibles, THC oils, and THC tinctures that are sold in legal dispensaries will have the THC concentration clearly labeled in milligrams (mg). You'll need to do some basic math to determine how much THC is in each edible gummy or cookie or how much is in a single tincture of THC oil. Fans of CBD (another common cannabinoid) will be used to this labeling.
Take a look at this picture of a bottle of CBD gummies. Note that the bottle provides the total THC available while also telling how much is in each gummy:
Beginners will want to be sure that they know how much is in each gummy to prevent taking too strong of a dose.
Edibles THC Dosing Chart
What's the Recommended Standard Dosage of THC?
When we talk about "standard dosages" of THC, it's important to keep in mind that each person has a different experience when taking THC. Some need much stronger doses, others need much less, and some may not be able to get high from edibles at all. Keep that in mind as you begin to find your ideal dose of THC.
Having said that, there are professional recommendations of standard dosages. One study suggested starting patients with 2.5mg of THC, increasing the dose by 2.5mg as needed to a maximum of 40mg a day. Keep in mind that this was part of a formal treatment plan that included other cannabinoids, like CBD.
In general, a single dose that has 5mg to 10mg of THC is usually seen as a "standard" dose. Beginners can usually start at around 5mg without running a risk of getting uncomfortably high, but there's enough THC in 5mg that most new users will feel some kind of high. If you're concerned about getting too stoned, you can always start with 2.5mg of THC!
Recommended Dosage For Tinctures
You'll follow the same advice for tinctures as you do for edibles, with one important difference. Tinctures or oil are more bioavailable, which means they deliver more THC per dose than edibles. When you use a tincture or oil, you'll hold it under your tongue for several seconds, which allows some of the THC to pass directly into your bloodstream.
With edibles, you'll have to wait for the THC to make its way through your digestive system and liver. While edibles and tinctures are both very potent, tinctures are even more potent, so start with small doses first, like 2.5mg, especially if you're a beginner.
Recommended Dosage For Vaping
Vaping cartridges can be challenging to dose accurately. How potent a pull from a vape will depend on how big of a puff you took. Even if all of your puffs are the same, you still can't get a precision mg dosage like you can from edibles.
However, there are a few tips you can follow to find a comfortable dose. THC from vaping hits quickly, usually within 15 minutes. If you're new to vaping, take one small hit and wait until you feel how it impacts you. You'll likely want to take another hit, but vaping slowly but surely will help you land on approximately how many puffs you need for an appropriate dose.
Aside from vaping slowly, try to pull from the vape the same amount of time when you take a puff. You can even count in your head to time it. While you may not get the precision measurement for the dose, you can still calculate how many puffs you need for a comfortable high.
Recommended Dosage For Concentrates
Concentrates will be dosed similarly to how you dose with vaping. You could potentially weigh how much wax you want to vape and base your dose off of that, but it's not recommended if you are vaping concentrates for the first time. Concentrates are extremely potent, and we suggest you start out slow and steady to find how many puffs you need.
Once you become more comfortable with concentrates, you can start weighing wax before you vape and base your dose off how much wax you can safely vape at once.
Recommended Dosage For Flower
Flower also presents challenges to dosing, but it's actually much easier to dose flower than vaping or concentrates. When you vape flower, all of the buds in the heating chamber are usually exhausted (unlike concentrates). You can weigh your flower to get a more accurate dose, but don't feel pressured to clear a heating chamber if you're just starting to use flower.
Vaping flower will hit quickly like vaping cartridges, so we recommend taking a small hit and seeing how it impacts you. As you get more comfortable with the high, you can start thinking about measuring flower to get a more precise dose.
You will need a sensitive scale that will measure to the tenths or hundredths of a gram, but if you don't want to invest in equipment, you can always measure by the pinch. It won't be as precise, but it will still be a better overall gauge than measuring puffs from vaping cartridges or concentrates.
What's a Safe Amount of THC to Consume?
While you can have an uncomfortable experience taking too much THC, there's not a danger of overdoses like with opioids or stimulants. Instead, users will want to avoid taking so much THC that they experience negative side-effects, which includes:
- Rapid changes in mood
Unfortunately, the amount of THC to experience the more negative side-effects varies widely from person to person. Like we mentioned earlier, your genetic predisposition can impact how THC affects you, but it also depends on the specific edible product, even if THC concentration is the same.
Different strains of marijuana impact people in different ways and many edible products include a full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, not just pure THC. The way these compounds interact can affect your high, which can make specific dosing recommendations difficult.
For beginners, starting off with a low amount of THC (2.5mg - 5mg) is the best way to find a comfortable dosage without getting too high.
How Long Does It Take to Feel Cannabis Edibles?
The time it takes to feel edibles will also vary from person to person. However, most users can expect to feel some kind of high between 30 minutes to an hour after an edible has been eaten (though it can be longer for some). This is in stark contrast to vaping weed, which usually kicks in around 10 minutes (and in some cases, within the first couple of puffs).
The reason why it takes such an extended period of time to feel edibles is because of how our body metabolizes THC. Our livers turn THC into 11-Hydroxy metabolite, which gets you high like THC but is far more potent. This is one of the reasons seasoned weed vapers with high THC tolerances will look to edibles to get a stronger, more satisfying high.
The delay is also a reason that edibles are notorious for making beginners too high. Again, starting with those low 2.5mg - 5mg doses is an ideal way to experiment with edibles without having an adverse experience.
How Long Does It Take to Feel Tinctures?
You're looking at a similar time frame to feel tinctures or oils when compared to edible, which is 30 minutes to an hour. While some of the THC will be absorbed through your mouth when you hold the oils or tinctures under your tongue, you still have to wait for the THC to make its way to the liver to become 11-Hydroxy metabolite.
How Long Does It Take to Feel Vaping Cartridges?
Vaping will hit you pretty quickly, usually within 15 minutes. The THC goes into your bloodstream directly from your lungs, so you'll feel the high quickly. This makes it easy to get used to vaping, since you can vape slowly and quickly see whether or not you want to vape more.
How Long Does It Take to Feel Concentrates?
Since concentrates are vaped, you'll feel them quickly, usually within 15 minutes. Unlike vaping flower or vape cartridges, concentrates are extremely potent. They not only hit fast but also hit hard. Make sure to vape slowly when you vape concentrates for the first time.
How Long Does It Take to Feel Flower?
As with cartridges and concentrates, flower will also hit within 15 minutes. How high you get will depend on the concentration of THC in the flower. Vaping flower has the benefits of enjoying other natural cannabinoids in cannabis (like CBD), so the high you'll feel might be different when compared to vaping cartridges or concentrates.
What Is a Good MG Dose for Edibles?
While a good dose for each person is different, looking at "standard" dosing advice can be a useful benchmark for future edible sessions. While new uses should start a low dose regardless of the kind of experience they want, the following will be helpful in guiding new users when they experiment with more potent edibles:
1-5mg Edible Dosing
As we've mentioned, this is a great starting place for beginners. If you start at 2.5mg or less, you may not even feel a ‘high’ (but you may experience some benefits, like increased appetite or decreased anxiety). Most users feel something at 5mg, but this dosage can be too light even for those that are brand new to edibles.
Regardless, we recommend starting no higher than 5mg for your first edible experience (remember, you can always work your way up to more potent doses!)
5mg-10mg Edible Dosing
This is where almost all beginners will feel a decent high, especially at the 10mg level. Feelings of euphoria and increased appetite are common, as well as general relaxation. The 10mg level is a common dose to help with falling and staying asleep.
If you're new to edibles or THC tinctures and 5mg didn't do much for you, then 10mg is a great dose to try next. It will be significantly stronger without running the risk of being too potent.
10mg - 20mg Edible Dosing
This range is very potent for beginners (and far too potent for many). This is especially true with the 15mg - 20mg range, which is a rare place for beginners to start. If you are an experienced cannabis user, 15mg is a great place to start, but you'll likely end up in some of the higher MG ranges.
Effects at this level can help some users with acute pain, significant sleep problems, or other users with chronic pain problems.
20mg-30mg Edible Dosing
This range will be debilitating for nearly any beginner. However, for experienced THC users, this may be the ideal range for providing a strong, satisfying high (especially if THC tolerance has taken the edge off of vaping cannabis). Even intermediate cannabis users might find this level too high, and those that take it can expect the high to last several hours.
30mg-50mg Edible Dosing
Experienced users with a strong THC tolerance will often look to this range for potent, long-lasting effects. This is especially true for users with acute, chronic pain or for those that need help sleeping through the entire night. For the majority of users, 50mg will cause sleepiness and strong pain relief (though you can expect a strong case of the munchies, too).
This range is usually reserved for users that have severe, chronic conditions (like cancer or Crohn’s disease). It is incredibly potent, and if you don't already have a significant tolerance to THC, it's almost certain you'll experience the negative effects of taking too much THC we mentioned earlier.
Some users may end up working their way to this dosage level, but no one should start at this level. The majority of users that take edibles or THC tinctures will never regularly take doses at this level.
What Is a Good MG Dose For Tinctures?
You can use the above guide pretty closely for oils or tinctures. You can measure tinctures in mg doses, just like edibles, though you'll have to pay close attention to the included dropper. If you're using tinctures for the first time, try taking a dose that is 5-10% weaker than your normal edible dose, since tinctures get more THC into your bloodstream than edibles do.
What Is a Good MG Dose For Cartridges, Concentrates, and Flower?
Unfortunately, you won't be able to measure out precise mg doses with cartridges, concentrates, or flower. You can consider weighing your wax or bud before loading it into the heating chamber, but we recommend you vape slowly and find how many puffs work best for your needs.
Can You Overdose on THC? What Happens if You Take Too Much?
We mentioned earlier that it's basically impossible to overdose from THC. In this book, Weed: The User's Guide, David Schmader discusses the data he gathered from experts about how much THC someone would need to consume for a lethal dose. The result?
"...A fatal dose of marijuana would require ingestion of fifteen hundred pounds in fifteen minutes."
Users can rest assured that you aren't going to have a lethal overdose of marijuana. That doesn't mean you can't have an unpleasant experience from taking too much too quickly, though. As we said earlier, getting too high can make you feel anxious, paranoid, nauseous, and can even cause irrational thoughts or hallucinations.
If you start off with low doses and work your way up to a comfortable THC level, then your chances of ever getting too high are pretty slim.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Small Amounts of THC Regularly?
We've spent a lot of time talking about what can happen if you get too high, but there's also a lot of great, potential benefits for those that take small amounts of THC regularly. Here are some benefits that users may experience:
- Chronic pain relief (helping people to transition off of opioid painkillers)
- Nausea relief (especially among cancer patients going through chemotherapy)
- Muscle spasm control
- Appetite stimulant
Again, these are possible outcomes. Research into how THC affects the body is still new, so it's hard to make concrete health claims. For many users, they may find relief from a variety of health conditions through moderate use of THC edibles.
Tips For Relieving Overconsumption of Edibles
Even if you're careful, you may have an experience where you have eaten too potent of edibles too quickly. If you ever feel as though you're too high, there are several steps you can take to help sober up from weed. Here are a few to keep in mind when taking edibles:
- Move to a comfortable environment, stay calm, and remind yourself that you are not in any physical danger. You can't overdose on weed.
- Take a strong dose of CBD (double the dose you had of THC). Some research suggests that CBD might take the edge off of a THC high.
- Chew on some lemon rinds. Lemons have limonene, which may help calm you down if you are feeling panicky during your high.
Aside from those tips, make sure to drink plenty of water, grab some snacks, and allow the THC to work its way out of your body.
Tips For Relieving Overuse of Tinctures, Vape Cartridges, Concentrates, and Flower
Fortunately, the tips for helping calm down a high that is too strong are the same regardless of what form of cannabis you consumed. If you're too high from vape cartridges, concentrates, or flower, you can rest assured knowing that their high is short-lived compared to tinctures and edibles.
Try to get comfortable, take some CBD, if available, and you'll start to come down from your high before you know it!