How to find the perfect dose of cannabis

Published Mar 25, 2019 11:15 a.m. ET

Everybody knows that marijuana can affect each person a little differently but most assume that’s caused by nothing more than a different tolerance level. While it is true that your exposure and history with cannabis is a significant contributing factor, it isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a product. Here you will find ten different things to consider before buying a cannabis product to ensure you achieve the most enjoyable experience when smoking weed or consuming edibles.

1. Terpenes
Terpenes are one of the most overlooked aspects of a marijuana plant despite being responsible for the majority of both the taste and smell of any strain. This is important and can affect the overall experience you get from using cannabis. Try to find a marijuana product or strain that offers oils that you find appealing to fully benefit from the aromatic effects of smoking weed. Scents alone can be enough to soothe and relax which will influence how good you feel no matter how high of a dose you take. Terpenes are usually listed by popular oils found in cannabis including blueberry, orange, citrus, early, piney, and more.

2. Potency
The perfect dose is going to heavily depend on the potency of the cannabis strain you choose. THC is the psychoactive component that produces the euphoric and relaxing high. For some larger amounts of THC will cause the opposite effect of what they had hoped for, and instead of being relaxed, those who over consume end up feeling uncomfortable, anxious, paranoid, or even scared. While this doesn’t ultimately change the amount of THC you want, it does affect how much of any kind of cannabis strain you may want to try at once.

3. Tolerance
Tolerance to THC is something that is built up over time through exposure and frequent marijuana use. If you have a high tolerance due to prolonged exposure to THC, you will likely have a more enjoyable experience with a higher amount of the cannabinoid. Those who have little to no experience using cannabis in general benefit from a lower level of THC with more prevalent amounts of CBD which can help to coat the receptors and minimize the intensity of THC once ingested.

4. History
Your history should be a good indicator of what sort of dose you should be looking for. While this may sound similar to tolerance, it is different and more so focused on the effects that you either did or didn’t enjoy during prior use. If smoking weed always makes you feel lazy than you may benefit more from a Sativa dominant cannabis strain. This is especially true if you have ever had an overwhelming experience with it. If you are having trouble feeling THC with the same intensity, you once did than Indica strains are known to be more intense, and higher producing THC strains will probably be the most beneficial.

5. Indica vs sativa
As mentioned previously, there are some stereotypical characteristics that tend to be common amongst different types of cannabis strains. Marijuana can be a pure strain that is either Sativa or Indica, a dominant strain that is more of one than the other, or an even strain which carries 50% of the genetics from both types of cannabis. Indica are known for their couch locking, intense, sedative effects, while Sativa will most often present a lighter, more energetic functional buzz. Choose a strain to use when either smoking weed or making edibles that is known for the affects you are seeking.

6. Consumption method
This one is less likely to affect the dose amount than the amount of time the high will last for. The consumption method is more of a predictor of how often dosing should be administered. Smoking, vaping, and dabbing are all absorbed the same way, through tiny blood vessels and receptors located in the lungs. This happens instantly after the smoke or vapor is inhaled and the effects can be felt immediately while lasting upwards of 4-6 hours before wearing off. Cannabis edibles are entirely different and are absorbed through the liver. This includes oral administration though pills, oils, or tinctures, and edibles. It can take up to two hours for the body to process THC this way resulting in a slower but longer lasting effect which can last up to 12 hours.

7. Products
Cannabis products are not all equal. One of the biggest mistakes made by marijuana users is assuming that enjoying one product means they should enjoy all of them the same way. Bud flowers are the least potent way of ingesting THC and contain an average of 18% to 25% of THC. Cannabis concentrates are condensed forms of THC and can include anywhere from 30% to 99% THC depending on the purity of the product. If you are new to using cannabis or have had negative experiences using it in the past than you are best to steer clear of concentrates as they almost always result in an amplified effect.

8. Wants
What is it you want from taking a dose of THC? Is it an intense high? Or perhaps a more energetic feel? Maybe you have specific symptoms or a diagnosis that you hope to be able to manage with the use of THC. These things are all incredibly important and should be researched before deciding on a strain to start regular dosing. If your needs are medicinal than you should seek out a marijuana strain that has both CBD and THC present and that has proven to be beneficial to your specific condition. Some of the other less spoken about cannabinoids can dramatically change the effects of a high so finding a strain that has already worked for others is an excellent starting point. If you want a hard-hitting intense body high that will help you to relax at the end of a long day, then a pure or dominant Indica that produces high levels of THC might be most productive. Everyone wants a different experience when they toke; the hardest part is finding the strain that will do that for you.

9. State of mind
The way that you feel before you begin smoking weed or eating edibles is going to heavily influence the way it will affect you. Though marijuana is often used to calm anxiety and depression, when taken in too high of doses it can have the opposite effect, and those who start nervous, anxious, or scared are much more susceptible to this adverse reaction. Make sure you are somewhere that you feel comfortable with company if need be when taking your dose of THC.

10. Guidelines
Though the perfect dose for every person is going to be slightly different than the next, we do have a general idea of what the average person enjoyed based on user experiences. There seems to be a range that each category can for the most part safely consume cannabis within. This does not mean that you may not benefit yourself from a lower or higher dose, but it provides a peek into what other cannabis users report experiencing which can help you predict how it will make you feel.

Beginner
The lowest recommended starting dose for beginners and irregular users is a mere 5mg of THC, but the amount that most in this category benefit from is between 10mg-50mg of THC.

Intermediate
If you use cannabis on a regular basis but not every day then you are part of this group which prefers between 30mg of THC and 80mg of THC.

Experienced
Daily and regular users of marijuana tend to require higher amounts of THC ranging between 75mg of THC and 150mg of THC.

The most important thing to remember when you are trying to find the best dose for yourself is to go slow and start small. It’s a common misconception that more is better, but that isn’t always the case with many reporting more intense effects from lower THC producing weed than its more THC dense counterparts. Start with the smallest dose you can and wait one full hour in between vaping, dabbing, or smoking weed and at least 2 hours between consuming edibles.

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