Cannabis edibles! The possibilities are plentiful. What started with a tray full of brownies has morphed into gummies, mints, cocktails, breath mints, chocolate bars, and even bottled tinctures. But getting the right dose can be tricky. And because edibles take a while to move through the bloodstream and kick in, their effects can be unpredictable.
Overeating edibles can have some unpleasant side effects. And while you cannot necessarily overdose on cannabis, these high-dosage experiences can leave a bad taste in your mouth, so to speak. We want you to enjoy your edible experience and help you meet your needs. This guide to dosing with edibles will help you consume your edibles with confidence.
Edibles dosage by milligrams of THC
Choosing the correct dose of THC can produce a positive cannabis experience. You can appropriately dose up from there when you find your sweet spot. Dosages are typically measured in milligrams; if you purchase in a dispensary, those dosages will be clearly labeled. If you are buying your edibles from a friend, there is far less regulation and predictability of the edible.
Microdosing and your body chemistry
When consuming edibles, there are many factors to consider. While you might get high as a kite from a 5 mg gummy bear, your friend might not feel anything at all. There are reasons for this, such as:
- What type of edible is it?
- What the dosage is.
- Your tolerance to cannabis.
- How much you weigh.
- How fast you metabolize food.
Your body weight and how it contributes to your ideal cannabis dosage.
Every person’s body is different. Metabolic rates vary. Specific tolerances or intolerances can play a role. And people usually respond differently to certain medications, including cannabis. But when it comes to edibles, how much cannabis you consume and your tolerance to it plays a key role. On top of that, gastrointestinal factors and one’s endocannabinoid system can also dictate how fast, slow, and intensely the effects of an edible are felt in the body.
Is there such a thing as too high?
Many cannabis consumers have reached a point where they are uncomfortable with the effect of their edible. This edge varies for many people. But once crossing that threshold of 100 mg some unpleasant side effects can be felt, such as sleepiness, nausea and vomiting, and an increase in paranoia. We don’t want you to experience these things, so this dosing guide will help you have a pleasant experience.
How many milligrams of THC do I need to get high?
Sadly, there is no solid answer to this. There are too many factors to consider, which vary from human to human. But these cannabis dosage guidelines will give you an idea of what to expect with different dosages.
Microdose: 1-1.25 mg TCH
Common Effect: Mild relief of pain, stress reduction, and calm. Some report a slight increase in focus and creativity. No intoxicating feelings.
Ideal for: People new to cannabis edibles who want to accentuate their lifestyles and mental health without feeling high.
Low Dose: 3-5 mg THC
Common Effect: Mild to moderate pain relief. Reduction of anxiety symptoms. Feelings of happiness and satisfaction with life. Mild intoxication depending on the stain.
Ideal For: Sleep induction, people needing more relief from symptoms of pain and anxiety.
Moderate Dose: 10-15 mg THC
Common Effect: Pain relief, increases appetite, anxiety relief. Altered perception of reality. Coordination could be impaired.
Ideal For: Experienced cannabis users. People who want a high, euphoric experience.
High Dose: 20-30 mg THC
Common Effect: Euphoria, severe pain relief. It will impair coordination and perception.
Ideal For: Daily medical cannabis users and those with a high tolerance to THC. People with GI absorption issues.
Very High Dose: 50-100 mg THC
Common Effect: Severe impairment. Lack of coordination. Highly altered perception. Increased risk of unpleasant side effects, including nausea, paranoia, and increased heart rate.
Ideal For: People with an incredibly high tolerance to THC. Cancer patients. People with inflammatory disorders and other medical uses requiring higher doses.
Heroic Dose: 100 mg to 500 mg THC
Common Effect: Intensely impaired experience. Uncomfortable side effects are guaranteed.
Ideal For: People with an incredibly high tolerance to THC. Cancer patients. People with inflammatory disorders and other medical uses requiring medically supervised consumption.
Is it your first time?
If you are new to edibles and this is your first experience, you might not know what to do or how much to eat. There is a rule of thumb where edibles are concerned, low and slow.
If you are a beginner, start with a 2.5 mg dose. A gummy is often 5 mg, so cut it in half and start there. Wait an hour or until you start feeling the effect. Once you feel it, assess your situation.
Do you feel okay? Do you think you want more? If so, take the other half. Keep repeating this process until you know your limits and ideal dosage.
ProTip: If you are buying edibles in a dispensary, they usually come in doses of 2.5 – 10 mg. If you want to start slow, buy products you can easily cut in half to divide the amount.
When will I feel the effect of my edible?
Edibles can take effect anywhere from 20-90 minutes after consumption. But there is biology that affects how quickly you will feel something. Contents of your stomach, how you metabolize food, GI issues, and even the time of day can affect the timeline in which your edible effect kicks in.
Edible faux pas to avoid
There are two commonly made cannabis edible mistakes people make. Often, people mistake the time frame it takes to kick in as “it’s not working,” and they take more. But what happens is both doses wind up kicking in at the same time, potentially creating an unpleasant experience.
The other mistake is enjoying the edible! Yes, they can be delicious, and you might want to eat that whole cookie! But remember, the cookie is only a delivery driver for the cannabis it carries. Take a small dose, then get something non-psychoactive to munch on if you are hungry. Don’t forget the golden rule: start low and go slow.
Cannabis and the liver
When you consume cannabis through inhalation, the lungs quickly deliver THC to your bloodstream. But the liver has to do the heavy lifting when you eat it. The faster onset and metabolization could also cause a more psychedelic experience then smokers are used to. The star of this show is an enzyme called CYP2CP. What does it do that the lungs do not? It metabolizes delta-9 THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC, a more robust version of inhaled THC. But don’t let that scare you. Most of this is destroyed when it is carried through the digestive tract.
This process does account for why the “high” of edibles feels different than the inhaled high most are used to. It is important to avoid mixing intoxicants like alcohol that cause a dramatic increase in potency.
How long will my cannabis edibles effect last?
The same things that affect how your body reacts to edibles (tolerance, metabolism, body chemistry) are the very things that determine how long you will feel their effect. The effect might be over in a few hours for someone with a fast metabolism. For someone with a slower metabolism, it might last longer.
On average, if you are a seasoned cannabis consumer, you can expect a 5 mg gummy to last roughly 2-4 hours. Onset usually begins around 60 minutes and peaks for an hour before starting to come down.
If you are using edibles to help you sleep, a good idea is to take them at least an hour before bedtime. Metabolism slows during sleep, resulting in someone who could still be high upon awakening. Take this into consideration when dosing for dreamland.
How do CBD and THC work together?
Not everyone wants to get high. Many cannabis consumers are strictly medical and want to maximize their consumption responsibly. Combining CBD with THC can do just that. Not only can CBD enhance the medical benefits of cannabis, but it can also decrease the intoxicating effect THC has on the user. This, indeed, is considered the best of both worlds.
CBD works differently with endocannabinoid receptors. It blocks certain triggers in the brain producing intoxicating effects. This is what makes CBD such an excellent treatment for PTSD. It is also why it lessens the intoxicating feelings of THC.
Edibles can have different ratios of CBD to THC. If you want a genuinely balanced effect, seek out 1:1 ratios. The higher the percentage of CBD to THC, the less psychoactive impact will be felt.
Other common ratios are 2:1, 5:1, 10:1, and 20:1. In addition to CBD, other cannabinoids can be combined with THC edibles to give it a special effect. CBG is a cannabinoid directly related to pain and inflammation, so you might choose an edible with this added cannabinoid. CBN is semi-intoxicating and is best geared to calm the chatter in the mind so people can sleep best. You can often find edibles marketed for nighttime relief with added CBN, melatonin, and other botanicals.
How long will I be on this train? When will my edible wear off?
Nothing is worse than an edible high you can’t get off of. Edibles last longer than smoking or vaping, so it could be several hours. Once you hit the peak, you will slowly taper down over 1-2 hours. Relax; the worst part is over at that point.
Can I have an edible overdose?
While you might feel like you are dying if you consume too much cannabis, you are not. Reports have not shown cannabis to be lethal, and nobody has died from it. But the side effects of overconsumption of cannabis are undoubtedly unpleasant. Increased paranoia, nausea, vomiting, and confusion, to name a few.
When you feel you have overeaten the edibles, the best thing is to relax and go to sleep. Always take caution when consuming edibles and other cannabis products. Start with small doses and dose up responsibly.
What edibles are most potent?
You are correct if it feels like different edible types affect you differently! A brownie with the same amount of THC as cannabis-infused water won’t feel the same. This has more to do with the onset time than THC strength. Chemical compounds that affect how quickly the THC is absorbed also play a role in the “strength” of the edible.
Quick onset: Why does that lollipop seem to go on forever? Well, because it is actually sitting in your mouth for a more extended period. And they are being absorbed transdermally through the tissues in the mouth, compared to the stomach.
Medium onset: Edibles like gummies, chocolates, and caramels still need to be absorbed by the stomach, but since they are made from simple and few ingredients, they are absorbed quicker.
Long onset: Baked goods like cookies and brownies take longer. The more ingredients to digest, the more energy it takes, and the longer it will be before the effect will be felt.
Can I drink alcohol with my edibles?
Use with caution if mixing cannabis and alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant. It affects judgment which could lead you to consume too much cannabis and other things. Alcohol, because it is a solvent, can also allowTHC to pass more quickly into the bloodstream and the brain. Using cannabis and alcohol together has been shown, in recent research, to increase the likelihood of traffic accidents. These don’t sound too promising. In fact, it sounds downright dangerous. While it is always a choice, please choose responsibly.
Safely exploring your cannabis edible dosing
By this time, you know that eating edibles is tricky. You might eat one and feel nothing. Or, you could eat too many and feel uncomfortable. We recommend doing some dosing experiments before you get comfortable using edibles.
Always start slow! Take your time with your cannabis exploration. Start with half of a gummy or 2.5 mg. Eat this small portion, and take another small dose if you feel okay within two hours. Do this for three days until you find your optimal amount.
Help it along. If you are eating cannabis on an empty stomach, you can speed up its absorption by eating a snack. This might be a bowl of buttered popcorn or an apple. Something simple stimulates the digestive tract and helps the cannabis enter the bloodstream faster.
Use CBD oil. Add some CBD to the mix if you want to control your high. This will reduce the intoxicating effects while boosting the medical benefits.
Where are you, and what’s in your head?
Nobody wants a poor experience when consuming edibles. Setting and mindset are two things that play a significant part in that. Thankfully, you do have some control over that.
If you feel overly anxious, use a minimal dose or pair it with CBD gummies. If you are freaking out about anything, your experience might just be exacerbated. The opposite is also true. Suppose you are happy, in a good mood, and looking forward to your edible experience. In that case, you will have a positive mindset going into it which will carry through. And safety is always a concern. If you do not feel safe in your environment, this may raise your anxiety and give you a less-than-pleasing experience. Be happy, be safe, and enjoy the ride.
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