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How to Find the Right Dose of THC

Last Updated: December 17, 2023By Jessica Reilly

Finding the right marijuana dose is tricky because it’s personal. Whether you’re consuming recreationally, attempting to dial in a medicinal dose, or trying to formulate how much to use in your edibles, getting the dose right is key to a positive cannabis experience.

Most people who consume cannabis have had too much THC at one point and it's usually because of edibles. It’s the same story over and over again – you eat an edible and wait for it to work. After 30 or 60 minutes, you still don’t feel anything so you eat more – and then it all hits you at once. It's a stoner right of passage, but it doesn't have to happen to you. 

Looking for the dosing calculator? Scroll to the bottom of the article.

Dosing Calculator and Tips for Getting High

How to Find the Right THC Dose for You

The right dose of cannabis is unique to the individual, but there are scientific guidelines you can use to guide your dosing.

If you’re consuming for the first time or trying a new product, start with a low dose and allow it to work fully before you consume more. This will give you a baseline and you can increase or decrease from there.

  • Dr. Ethan Russo, a well-known cannabis researcher and doctor suggests that beginners start with a small dose of just 2.5 mg of THC.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse uses 5 mg of THC as a standard unit for research.
  • The recommended daily limit for THC is between 30 – 40 mgs.

Between 2.5 mg and 30 mg, there’s a lot of room for testing. For most people, 10 mg is more than enough per serving, and many people prefer less, around 5 mg per serving.

But these are just suggestions. There is a lot of variability in how much marijuana you should ingest for a few reasons. 

  • Variation in compounds in different strains.Marijuana is not made up solely of THC. Each plant has a variety of cannabinoids, like CBD, CBG, and CBC. It also has a terpene profile and other compounds like flavonoids. These compounds work together in the entourage effect to create the experience of each strain. The potency of these compounds depends on the storing and processing processes. A strain with high levels of CBD won’t be as intoxicating as a strain with high levels of psychoactive THC. But a strain with 25% THC will be five times stronger than a strain with 5%.
  • Your endocannabinoid system. The ECS is a complex signaling system that has receptors on every organ in your body, including CB1 and CB2 receptors. Your ECS is like your fingerprint – unique to you. Because of the uniqueness of endocannabinoid systems, it can be hard to predict how someone will react to a cannabis product, especially for new consumers. This variation is why some people don’t react to edibles at all, while others can only take a single puff from a joint.
  • Your tolerance levels and use history. If you’re a regular marijuana consumer, your regular dose will be much higher than someone trying for the first time. If you consumed heavily in the past, stopped, and started again, your tolerance may have reset, or you may still need larger doses than someone who has never consumed marijuana at all.
  • Your weight/ body fat. Cannabinoids like THC are lipophilic molecules, which means they’re fat-loving molecules. This affects your experience in two ways: if you don’t have enough fat in your system in your diet, then your THC products may not work as well. Secondly, if you have more body fat, THC may be metabolized slower.
  • Medical history. Cannabis has hundreds of medical use applications, and how much a proper dose is can change. Patients trying to treat cancer with Rick Simpson Oil will consume hundreds of milligrams of THC per day, while someone treating anxiety may only need 5 mg.

How Much Marijuana to Consume in A Day?

As stated above, some people can tolerate extremely high doses of THC. But for most of us, the limit is lower.

THC has biphasic effects which means that it has opposite effects in low doses than in high doses. In practice, this means that smoking a small joint may help you feel relaxed while smoking a blunt with 1.5 grams may actually increase anxiety.

So how much weed is too much weed on a daily basis?

Experts suggest that 30 – 40 mg of THC is the daily limit for most consumers. Doses above this can increase negative side effects without increasing efficacy.

Knowing your dose is easy with edibles, cannabis tinctures, and prerolled products. It's harder to measure the dose of a joint you roll at home. If you’re not sure, have one or two puffs and wait 15 – 30 minutes to see how you feel. 

Can You Overdose on THC?

Yes. Overdosing on THC looks like paranoia, anxiety, and an increased heart rate. You cannot overdose on THC to the point of death, as you can substances like alcohol.

People can tolerate up to 1,000+ milligrams of THC on a daily basis. This high dose isn’t necessary for most people, and in fact, can bring on negative side effects, but it does highlight how safe THC is.

If you took too much THC and have a negative reaction – take a deep breath. Put yourself somewhere quiet and safe. Have water, eat some food, and play a comforting playlist or watch a comforting show. If you have CBD on hand, take some. It will pass. 

How to Dose Your Weed Edibles Properly

Edible products can be tricky to dose. This is because edibles are processed through your digestive system, and must undergo a first pass through your liver in order to get the cannabinoids into your bloodstream.

During this first pass through the liver, the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (you know, THC) in your weed products is converted into another molecule called 11-hydroxy-THC. This metabolite of THC can be twice as strong as THC (which is why 5 mg of edibles can hit so much harder than 5 mg of smoked THC.) 11-hydroxy-THC also has a longer half-life in your system than delta-9 THC, which is why getting high from edibles lasts longer.

Understanding the dose of cannabis edibles you bought at the dispensary is easy- it's written on the package. A 20 mg edible can easily be made into a 5 mg edible by cutting it into four pieces.

Homemade cannabis edibles are a little trickier. If you’re using a store-bought tincture, concentrate, or infused butter or oil, the potency will be labeled. But things get confusing when you’re making edible recipies with homemade cannabutter or cannabis-infused oil

(Need some inspiration for cannabis-infused food? Check out our recipes section.)

Formula for Measuring Homemade Edibles

Cheri Sicard has a formula you can use to calculate the strength of your homemade cannabis edibles for the total amount of THC. To do so, you’ll need to know:

  • The THC percentage of your cannabis flower
  • How many grams of flower you’re using
  • How much carrier (butter or oil) you’re using
  • The serving size of your edible.

Divide the THC percentage of your weed by 1,000 to get the per milligram amount. Then multiply that by how many grams of flower you’re using in your infusion to get the total amount of THC available from your product. Finally, divide that number by the number of servings in your edible.

Here’s what that looks like in practice:

Let’s say you have one gram of cannabis with 15% THC. One gram = 1,000 milligrams. 15% of 1,000 milligrams is 150 milligrams. So, your 1g of weed has roughly 150 milligrams of THC.

Now let’s say you infuse 1 cup of butter with 7g of cannabis. That means you have (roughly) 1,050 milligrams of THC in your butter. If you use the entire cup of butter in a pan of brownies, those brownies will have 1,050 mg THC. If you divide those brownies up into 24 pieces, each piece will have 43mg THC. Those are some strong brownies!

If you use ½ c of infused butter and ½ c regular butter, then each of the 24 brownies will have around 21 mg – which is still pretty strong.

But if you don’t want to do the calculation yourself, you don’t have to. In today’s digital age, there’s an app for that – or at least an online edible dosing calculator.

You can use this dosing calculator to estimate the total amount of THC and other cannabinoids in your edibles and even account for the potency loss during decarboxylation. 

[Insert dosage calculator here]

Why Measure the Total MG In Your Edibles? 

Edibles are the most diverse and discreet method of cannabis consumption. When you know how to accurately measure the total THC mg in your edibles, you can infuse whatever you want, whatever you want.

If you don't know how much weed is in your edibles, you can only have them when you have time to get high. But when you know, you can infuse food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Go beyond baked goods and desserts to infusing soups, pasta, creamy sauces, salad dressing, and so much more. 

FAQs on Cannabis Dosing

How to Dose THC Tincture

If you’re just starting out with a THC tincture, start low and go slow. Experts recommend a daily dose of 2.5 mg per day for a few days. Take note of how you’re feeling. If you’re looking for stronger effects, up the dosage. This can look like taking 5 mg of tincture at once or taking two doses of 2.5 mg throughout the day.

What is a High Dose of THC?

Experts recommend a limit of 30 – 40 mg of THC per day. However, there are medical cases where patients need more than that, and humans can tolerate up to 1,000+ mg of THC per day.

What is a Low Dose of THC?

A beginner dose of THC is 1 mg – 2.5 mg, but any amount under 5 mg is considered a low dose of THC.

How Long Does THC Stay in Your System?

A single use of cannabis can stay in your system for up to three days. If you’re a regular cannabis consumer, it can stay in your system for up to 90 days or 3 months.

What is a Dose of THC? 

A dose of THC is a serving amount measured in milligrams. It can be as low as 1 mg or as high as 100 mg.

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