Have you ever made (or tried) a batch of cannabis-infused edibles and had no idea what their potency was or how much you should consume? Thankfully, with legalization comes standardization. In states with legal cannabis, edibles manufacturers are held to higher regulatory standards that lead to safer, more pleasant edibles experiences.
Thanks to proper labeling and mandated lab testing, it should only take a little self-discipline to ensure that you don’t accidentally launch yourself into the cosmos. That, and education. Knowing what a standard dose is–and adjusting that dose based on your personal needs and biology–can make or break your experience.
Every newcomer to edibles goes through this process of uncertainty and trepidation, which is why we’ve whipped up this handy five-step guide to equip you with the fundamentals of dosing cannabis edibles. After all, we wouldn’t want you to end up like that cop who called 911 after he ate one (or several) too many edibles.
1. Read the Package Dosing Guidelines Carefully
We’re past the days of playing Russian roulette to determine edible doses. Edibles on the legal market typically label their THC/CBD contents in milligrams. The “standard dose” is considered to be 10 mg, but a cannabis newbie or low-tolerance consumer should start with half of that. There’s nothing wrong with dipping your toe in the water before jumping in. You can always add another 5 mg in an hour or two once you’ve settled into the effects of your first dose.
Cannabis edibles are often found in the following dose intervals: 5 mg, 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, 80 mg, and 100 mg. Veteran consumers and medical patients may need a much higher dose than the standard 10 mg, but until you’ve familiarized yourself with edibles and know how your body reacts to different doses, start low and work your way up.
Even some experienced cannabis consumers choose to consume small doses (usually 3-7 mg)–so small that there’s little to no detectable euphoria. This method is called “microdosing,” and it’s used to gently stimulate our body’s cannabinoid receptors for improved mood, focus, and creativity. Some medical patients find that microdosing is more effective at alleviating their symptoms than high doses.
2. Consider Your Tolerance
Starting with a small dose is always a good idea, especially if it’s your first time or it’s been a while since you’ve used cannabis. A low THC tolerance can make you particularly susceptible to negative side effects like paranoia, anxiety, and dizziness, and most would agree that an underwhelming experience is better than an overwhelming one.
Don’t try to “keep up” with more experienced consumers. Experienced, high-tolerance consumers not only need a higher dose to achieve desired effects, they also tend to be a lot more resilient to THC-induced side effects.
3. Be Patient and Exercise Restraint
We know, it’s hard to wait for the effects to kick in when you have an entire package of delicious infused snacks staring you in the face. Keep in mind, however, that with cannabis-infused edibles you can’t mindlessly snack on handfuls–if you lose track of how many you’ve eaten, you could be in for a bumpy ride.
Once again, take a dose and wait it out–that way, you’re much more likely to have a positive and in-control experience. Because body fat and metabolism vary from individual to individual, it’s hard to say when that edible is going to kick in. It could be 30 minutes later, or it could take over an hour. Resist snacking on the rest of your edibles until you’ve felt the effects the first dose. Then, once you’ve waited long enough (it could take up to two hours), you can make the call on consuming one more.
4. Be Mindful of Your Stomach’s Contents
Before you dose, consider how much you’ve eaten and what you’ve had to drink. An empty stomach means your edible may kick in more swiftly, and if this is the case, maybe think about starting with half a dose.
Another thing to keep in mind is how much alcohol you’ve had to drink. Alcohol can increase THC blood concentration significantly, so dose modestly if you plan on mixing the two.
5. Find a Comfortable Place
Edibles are delightfully portable, but keep in mind the importance of consuming in a comfortable setting. Larger doses are best tackled at home and among familiar faces. It’s always a good idea to have your best friend or partner there with you, especially if it’s your first time. The presence of a loved one helps keep any anxiety-related side effects at bay.
With experience come the comforts of familiarity, and with time, it becomes easier to feel at peace with your surroundings when consuming edibles. Until then, gather the people and things you love most and enjoy all the bliss, relaxation, relief, and laughter edibles have to offer in a secure, cozy place.