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Cannabis 101

5 tips to safely dose and enjoy high-THC cannabis edibles

March 10, 2016

This article is sponsored by EdiPure. EdiPure is a provider of high-quality cannabis infused product brands for the licensed recreational and medical markets, each manufactured with specific cannabinoid profiles.


Updated 3/14/18

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.

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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.

Curious About Cannabis? Find a Dispensary Near You!

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.

If you do become uncomfortably high despite following these guidelines, don’t panic! Read through our 8 Ways to Counteract a Too-Intense Cannabis High, and know that trial-and-error is often an integral part of finding that perfect experience.

Lead image by rgbspace/iStock

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2 part series

  • RaymondSte

    Damned good advice, in my opinion

  • Marta Putz

    I started making edibles over 15 years ago. The difficulty was knowing how strong it was each time so I always recomended taking just 1 and only eating more after 1h+ but some friends ended up having a second or third candy and “ODing”. 1st instance of OD is being totally spaced out, not controlling anything and somewhat falling asleep. 2nd instance is having to throw up. Your stomach can´t take what you ate and you get sick. But once you have controll over edibles it´s the best way have cannabis, avoiding smoke. I started planting my own and cut the suger leaves to infuse in butter or olive oil and make croutons with them. Works wonders 🙂

    • billy the bomber

      Cbd oil will ease the anxiety

    • Scott Davis

      More like Over medicating instead of OD though..

      • I take 10mg of THC at night and
        60mg of CBD. Its wonderful. I like taking that dose at night. In the am I 5mg THC and 10mg CBD and feel great. Pain is better, calm and time goes slower. No more oxy and xanax. it took a little to find what dosage works. Also do induce at night and sativa in am.

  • hanscom

    I researched the issue quite a bit and it’s amazing how little you need to take to get a nice effect even though I’ve smoked quite a bit. 5-7 mg is fine with me. I made some of my own after the research (doses are so cheap in the 50 cent range) and took about 18mg and knew it was too much and had to lie down. Doses in the cannabutter recipes are mostly way off and have you taking up to 200mg. Who says you can’t OD on cannabis! Even on a low dose I agree with the article on taking them at home and will not drive once it kicks in which in my experience with lozenges is about 10 min. and can last over 2 hours. I also get a real crash at the end.

    • billy the bomber

      Maybe od but wont kill you unless you walk into traffic lol

    • Coyotefred

      “5-7 mg is fine with me. I made some of my own after the research (doses are so cheap in the 50 cent range)..”

      Could you describe what specifically you did to make your own that inexpensively and about that dosage? I’m in the same boat as you… thanks!

      • hanscom

        I made cannaoil with 3/4 oz ( I get black market herb about 17% THC for $200 but works even if you pay more but be careful if its 25 % medical cannabis) in 2 cups of cannola oil. I looked at thr Cannabist site for dosages ( a little confusing) but figured i get about 2100 mg THC per 3/4 ounces–a crazy number that makes lots of 5mg doses! The thing is the ave. 1/2 gram joint has 60 mg or so. Edibles go so much further for me. Do the math on price.
        De-carbonalize the herb–bake in oven/toaster oven for 35 min at 240 degrees–will totally stink up the house. Crumble herb and simmer in crock pot or on low 3 hours–do not let it boil. You dont need longer than 2 1/2 or 3 hours. Strain in plastic coffee strainer $3.50 at grocery store and can be reused and throw the remaining gunk away ( all the THC is out of it). You now can do all kinds of things. I kept some in frig and froze some in ice tray for later–2 tablespoons per section. You have to measure carefully at this point to get doses. So I did a couple of things. I made corn bread but could be banana bread, applesuace bread, with 2 tablespoons per standard recipe in loaf pan. The recipe calls for maybe 1/2 cup cannola oil–just throw away 2 tablespoons of cannola oil and add the cannabis oil. If you cut 7 slices of bread then you can cut every slice into 6 or 7 pieces. So you get 48 or 50 doses per 2 tablespoonS cannabis oil. Ate about 4 doses once and got wacked–had to lie down.
        I also made candy which I like better. Little tricky but you can follow recipes for taffy or hard candy. Def need a candy thermometer– $7 at grocery store or $14 for digital one. Do NOT go above 270 degrees when you cook the sugar and liquid sugar–even tho all the recipes say to go to 300 degrees. I bought candy molds at a hobby shop for candy which had 64 segments. Can get flavor at hobby store too. Just add one of the tiny bottles. I woild suggest making some practice candy first with no cannabis oil to get the hang of it. Have to move quickly after get to 270 although hold off 3 minutes before pouring. Obviously don’t spill it on yourself or the kids/dogs–get them out of the room first. The recipe made something like 85 pieces so I used 2 mold. Spray with Pam first so you can get them out. I added 4 tablespoons to this recipe. There ishould candy recipe on ‘Stuff Stoners Like’ site that say use kief–use the oil. I have tips there too. After putting the candy in frig for couple hours I broke them apart and put each one in lots of powered sugar. Then I wrapped each individually in parchment paper and keep them in frig in Tupperware. I can give more info on the candy if needed. There are taffy recipes that make 34 pieces them I’d just use 2 tablespoons. If it’s real strong herb you’d need maybe 1 1/2 tablespoons. Give me an update!

        • Coyotefred

          WOW…this is great. I was wondering how you were converting between fluid ounces and mg THC, etc.

          I’m interested in capsulizing though rather than blending into food or candy, and in pretty small doses (5-10mg max). What do you think would be the best way to capsulize?

          • hanscom

            I’m thinking that making capsules would be hard unless you have professional set up. You would then have to calculate the interior volume of a cap–beyond my math–or you’d have to fill a bunch and pour them out and measure. If you’re thinking of using cannaoil it would be messy. Then how do you know the thing is totally filled unless youre a pharmacist and have a pro set up.You could try an alcohol based tincture. Not sure how you do it but most are super strong so you’d have to use a tiny amount to get 5mg–hard to measure without laboratory equipment. Even one drop of most tinctures knock you on your ass.
            I am a medical patient and caps sell for about $3 each in dispensaries and they are all 10mg (can’t split them). Seems to me you are looking for a way to deliver a small dose. The candy allows for this. Just eat the candy whole if you want (a tiny amount of sugar even if you are diabetic) it’s the same as a cap really.

        • Please do alaborate more on being careful with medical grade bud. Is that because of it’s strength or is it more fragile? Also, let’s say I have some really good medical Indica that is at 26.21%, how much should I use to make the eauequival of the amount of oil you extracted using 3/4oz of 17% trees?

  • I love your post. 🙂 This really helps. Consuming edibles, for me is the best way to enjoy cannabis. And like what is stated, large doses should be consumed in a comfortable setting with people you’re close to.

  • Mitch Mandell

    Dosing for me has always been difficult. I’ve run into the same problems that you guys mention. Sometime I feel like Goldilocks, this one’s too strong or this ones too weak. To find one’s that are just right I started to make my own. I wan’t sure how much weed to put in my edibles until I found this dosage calculator at this site. Here’s a link, it really helped me make sure I had the right dosage. http://www.cannabischeri.com/thc-cbd-dosage-calculator/

  • Jösh Lewis

    This is good for beginners, but if you have any kind of tolerance, these doses are way too low. Even 60 mg only gets me to about a 5 or 6.

    • Netwie

      I was thinking the same thing. I take nabilone daily and 10mg is very safe indeed (I am 175 lbs,with high tolerance to THC). Overdosing seems hilarious to me b/c it has never happened but I hear it is truly awful.One of my bff’s assured me it is NOT funny,and she also has high tolerance,and is a medical user like myself.I would take 200mg if in need and couldnt vape.

    • This article was probably intended for newbies . . . ?

  • Delta Nine

    i’d say start with about 50-75mg. pretty soon 200mg will be minimum for you. 5-50 mg wont really do much. most brownies on the market are about 150mg. i can eat the whole thing and be fine. however my cousin ate half and was climbing the walls and flipping out. so to each their own i guess

    • Danielle Young

      Wow!! I’ve been making the butter and never knew the dose amount of course and had one experience where I couldn’t even talk and threw up and that was just one small cookie….😮…so ur dosage of 150mg sounds insane! I just ate 30mg from the dispensary and waiting I hope it works I am starting to feel a lil something but I’m a seasoned smoker and marijuana user and can with stand alot but never heard of someone able to eat that much. My question to you is are u making yourself or going to a center for all those mgs??

      • Delta Nine

        Both. Mostly buy from shop. I been smoking daily since i was 12 years old. Coming up on 20 years. Edibles is a different world than smoking. I suggest a korova peanutbutter cookie

        • anthony hill

          No you havent kid

          • Hep Yo

            I have a friend who has been smoking daily since 12 years old for 50 years. Has a masters degree and is consistently one of the most active people in town, at work, and in volunteer organizations.

      • Kody Burris

        Im i crazy or what im shocked reading all these articles i guess i never reserched about edibles ive eaten 1000mgs b4 and just got sick and really high just passed out atm just east 2 250mgs chifs rice crispys from the clinic feeling it but idk why it dosent effct me like others last time had this same crspy b4 was great eat just 1 250 mg today i eat em both left a bit so prob 450mg reasdiung this thread makes it look like im crazy to think ive done 1000mgs b4 stupid btw idk why the would even make a chocolate bar like that after reading this damn!! Atm my visoin is a lil blurred, brightness is higtend, head feels fuzzy, eyes r heavy feeling pressure behind the eyes but other then that state of mind is open!! high tolerance i take dabs every day and take 30mg of cbd 2x daily,, btw is amazing for pain and anxiety!!

    • Lori Koonce

      Each person will respond differently to any given dosage. So, IMO, it’s best to follow what the article says. My BFF got me started on edibles and said “You can always use more, you can never do less”

    • Bob Reynolds

      Do NOT start with 50 mg. That would hospitalize most people. Start with 5 mg. You can always take more next time. You can’t take less this time. This advice is 100% wrong!!!

      • Justme

        start with 5mg is correct. Not a cannabis user, this will be just right…

      • Susan Haig

        You are right. I got gummy bears – 10 mg each. Lady at the dispensary said just take one and see how it goes. It was almost 24 hours before I got over it. Lucky I had just read an article that said if you feel like you are never going to get over it, keep reminding yourself that you will get over it. That came to mind with the gummy bear 🙂

    • Dan Mitchell

      This is ridiculous, and it was an incredibly irresponsible thing for you to post.

      Folks: as always, read the article, and take Internet comments from randos with a huge grain of salt.

      • Jocelyne Hudson-Brown

        Safety first, Family! “Randos”… lol

        • Jeff Martin

          Lol

      • Maximilian Johann Rooney

        Start with 1,000 MG and just work your way gradually up from there… That’s the best (scientifically tested) approach.

    • Eric Post

      That’s insane. I had a 75 mg caramel turtle edible from a dispensary and lost my mind. Last night I made brownies with my friends and I estimated it to be about 50 mg and again had a pretty crazy trip, not as bad as the turtles though. My friends had half (so about 25 mg) but for some of them it was their first time and we ended up dealing with panic attacks and people feeling sick. We have 11 brownies left so they’re gonna last a while because we’ll only be eating a quarter next time.

      • Sully

        How much flower did you use when making your butter? or did you buy your butter?

        • Eric Post

          We used 7 grams and made 16 brownies but after some trial and error we determined that 1/4 of a brownie is enough for us, maybe even less. We made oil and I think we made a cup, cooking the weed and oil in a crock pot for about 7 hours I think it was.

    • anthony hill

      Delta nine you are a noob. Do not listen to this bozo.

      • Rory Bridges

        Why you talkin bout Maximilian Johann Rooney like dat fo ???

    • Ryan Harris

      That is the range i see most of my friends in. 50 to 200mg. My birthday i was over 1000 mg. Now that’s fun😵😵😵

      • Hep Yo

        I am getting the impression that prior to the lab testing that has accompanied legalization, people’s measurements of THC in edible doses was WAY OFF. I cannot imagine that it is possible that one 10 mg does can make someone bed ridden, seeing pretty psychedelic patterns on the ceiling, and another person is calming taking 100 of those doses.

        Alternately, some people are talking about mg of THC and others are talking about mg of FLOWER. 10mg of THC in 75mg of flower, on average.

    • TheSourceSlantedRoom .

      For real 5mg doesn’t do anything. I’ve only recently started smoking so my tolerance isn’t hight at all. If you claim you get any buzz from 5-50 mg you probably claim to get buzzed off one beer too lol I need at least 150mg to have any fun I don’t get how people panic over weed just don’t overthink and enjoy it 😂

      • Josh

        Yeah you’re full of shit and know nothing about edibles , 10-50 MGs gets you high, stop pretending that you’re smart /.

      • Jim Miller

        I took 50mg 1 1/2 hour ago so far nothing !! I got a lic: 3 months ago spent around $2000 dollars half of everything worthless 1/4 weak and 1/4 good edibles. I can buy pot on the street cheaper! If thes edibles don’t work I am throught with it!! I can’t belive this shit was ever illegal!!

    • wil hallman

      To each their own like he said. I eat 3 150mg brownies at once and barely get a body high. Meanwhile a friend ate one of them and was knocked out an hour later.

  • Martin Pineda

    I made some cookies dough brownie mixed edible and both mixes were infused I’d say 500mg probably because it sure did kick my ass ththe I had to pull over from driving.

  • Triggerpuller

    I just started using medical marijuana- before that I hadn’t had THC in decades. I got 3 different flavors mentioned in the advertisement/article and on day one tried .5 next day 1 the following day 1.5 and so on. Today after work will try 3 so far I have had zero result.

    Flower and concentrate in minimal amounts definitely hammer me. So…..

  • DAC

    I was making cannabis infused cannola oil. It is a fair bit of trouble. I realized that even after simmering the decarbed weed for some hours and straining out the oil, there is still quite a kick if you munch down some of the strained-out plant material! Then a friend told me that he just simply eats a bit of the de-carbed bud directly; I tried this and it is perfect for me. I actually like the taste. I don’t crumble the bud before decarbing – just heat the buds for about 2hr at 230F to 240F and store them in a jar. I decarb only about 5g (air dry weight, about 8% moisture at start) at a time; I’m not sure how stable decarbed bud is – I know this amount lasts me 1-1/2 mo and it is effective to the end.

    As for dosing it is pretty easy. Assume your weed is 10% THC (just an example), then eating 0.1g will give you 10mg of THC ( 10% of 0.1g is 0.01g or 10mg). I think my homegrown is a bit stronger, and I just weighed out the pinch I normally take and it was only 25mg so I’m getting about 4mg THC. There is no loss from oil lost in the straining material, etc. The toasted weed is very easily chewed, soft and crunchy and tasty – just pull a small pinch off the bud and eat it down. No drama. Start with a small pinch, half the size of a pea, or less, until you know the strength of your bud. I’m not looking to get blasted. I use it for a neuromuscular condition and take a very small pinch about an hour before bed, and no leg cramps at night, and I wake up feeling great. Couldn’t be easier.

    • Martha

      DAC, your description (half size of a pea was helpful,,,,I am not knowledgeable about how much is in an mg. Toasted? Decarbed? Explain please

      • DAC

        Hi. Yes, decarbed. I heat at 110C for 110min (I saw that somewhere and it works well). And start with a small pinch until you know how your cannabis and decarbing will affect you. Cheers!

        • Martha

          I put some in a watertight jar and boiled for 3 hours , Does that work ok? I didn’t want to toast it.
          Now eat the 1/2 pea size for an edible ??? +- ? I like the ” no drama” approach!

      • DAC

        Decarbing is fairly forgiving. See the attached graph that I saw posted somewhere; in the 100C (boiling) to 110C range decarboxylation has a fairly soft peak that will be maximal in the 2 hr range of time – difficult to mess it up. As the graph shows, in the water boiling temperature range or a bit higher, the THC (and CBD also) will reach it’s maximum in 1-2hr, so this
        is about the same as the “110C for 110min” thing. I read somewhere to seal the buds in an aluminum foil packet (seam the edges by folding over a couple of times tightly); this seems to keep the odors down when heating and so I think it may also keep the terpenoids contained. I have a temperature controlled “oven” (small, energy efficient) but I also use a “Little Dipper” crockpot (35W, no thermostat but it reaches about the boiling point after 30-45min of warm-up). You can get it a little hotter if you wrap it in a towel to insulate a bit.

        Just avoid the tough stemmy bits – just that they are annoying to chew. Pull off and chew up the tender buds and sugar leaves. And some varieties definitely taste a bit better than others… but all I have tried are reasonably palatable. You could garnish some food with the crumbles.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0538f409d6d93b3ac0e5663e1f9924618074e2ce94d073f9f8b9903672509d23.jpg

  • Sarah Barlow

    I am going to try our peanut butter chews tonight with my boyfriend. We’ve never done edibles. They are micro dose, since I read up on all the post. They are 7mg each. So we’ll do one each and if it doesn’t work we’ll do more at another time. If it is too much or we don’t like it I have CBD tincture to even it out. I think it will be awesome. We are having and going to watch something funny on TV. Always start out with small dose. Your post was awesome.

    • SRMCON

      7 is NOT micro.my newbie friends found that too much.more like 2-3mg is micro. I like the kiva mints for this at 2.5/each

  • Hairfish

    My favorite edible is beef curry made with cannabutter and served over rice. I just finished a small plate and…whoa. 😀 I don’t know the dose, but we started small last night, and when it didn’t have the desired effect, we added a bit more tonight. Golden! at 2 Tbs. of cannabutter per 2 servings. We *always* start low and go slow with any new recipe!

  • Ryan Harris

    Yall weak. I can eat 1000mg. 5 or 10 mg is a joke

    • Bartholomew Henry

      So powerful and brave.

  • Nicole Lewis

    This article really helps people to consume their cannabis accordingly. It lets people know and learn that certain dosage of these substance can really change its effect to our body. For those who are so health conscious, this blog is for you. This is great! 🙂

  • Carlos Puente

    i just took 160 mgs. im scurred!!

  • Hep Yo

    I have not had any edibles in years, but I vape every evening and probably have some tolerance that way.

    So, I figured a standard 10 mg dose would be fine. Wrong !

    Fortunately, I have a lot of experience with strong psychedelics, so it was not worrying to me, but IF I had anything scheduled that day, I would have had to cancel it, as I spent a lot of time on my bed staring at the nice patterns on the ceiling.

    START WITH no more than 5 MG. Period. Full Stop.

    If I was “pot czar”, I would make every dose 5 mg to help newbies and then let people eat more as desired.

    • Alex Ohannes

      How? 20 MG barely does anything and I’m a skinny small dude. Do you really vape EVERY evening?

      • Bob Khan

        You have built up the tolerance. I am a big 280lb guy that hasn’t smoked weed in over 16 years. 20mg today would probably have me peeking out the blinds every 5 minutes.

        I don’t drink much either. At three beers, I am usually fine for the rest of the evening. Many of the people I know drink much much more.

    • MacnCheesee

      lol

  • Shannon Daily

    I find edibles to be incredibly weak personally. I don’t feel like a 10 gm edible even affects me. I always need to smoke on top of edibles to feel anything

  • Apple

    i ate 25 mg for the first time had no idea i wasn’t supposed to eat the whole cookie. long story short i had to go to the ER, my heart bpm was over 200, mouth was super dry and could not concentrate. my friend also ate the same amount but he had better tolerance so he just threw up was being super annoying. now i have medical bills to pay, i’ll be sticking to joints.

  • Falconlights

    Thank you! This is great! I didn’t consider needing to wait to see how the first dose worked and ended up dizzy anxious and maybe a little paranoid. I can’t tolerate smoking, so edibles is about the only way for me to mellow out.NowI know the right way to consume them safely for a good experience

  • John Stackhouse

    I am pretty sure the CBD counteracts the THC to some degree.

  • Ed

    oh shit, I had edibles for only the second time yesterday and consumed 150mg of thc edibles in total. i was unspeakably high for like 7 hours, but today i feel just… real neat

  • Niko Benetos

    Haha damn right it wont

  • Melody Upham

    I do not drink, do not use anything stronger than Ibuprofen even though I need it and just got my medical marijuana card. Prior to this I have never used marijuana. 2 hours before bedtime I allow one 20mg gummy to dissolve in my mouth. I keep it under my tongue or between my gum and cheek as I was told it would absorb better that way. I have been getting 4-5 hours of good sleep a night which is wonderful since prior to that I’d wake up every hour or so and it wasn’t a restful sleep. I haven’t noticed it has any effect on my anxiety and I am not getting high at all.