Consuming cannabis edibles safely: How you can determine the right dosage

cannabis edibles

Determining the right dosage for cannabis edibles can be a daunting task, especially for first-time users.

Is 500mg too strong? Would 20mg be sufficient?

These are just some of the questions beginners tend to frequently ask.

The answer lies in your individual tolerance and metabolism.

As a general rule, a sensible starting point is a lower dose of around 5-10mg, giving your body time to adjust.

But let’s dive a bit deeper. In this article, I’ll provide the particulars of edible cannabis dosage to help you understand and safely navigate this aspect of holistic wellness.

What are cannabis edibles?

For the uninitiated, cannabis edibles can be a bit of a mystery.

They come in various forms, like cookies, gummies, and even beverages.

Unlike smoking or vaping, the effects of edibles are not immediate and can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in.

This delay is due to the fact that edibles need to be digested and metabolized in your body before you feel their effects.

Moreover, the intensity and duration of the effects can vary greatly depending on several factors including your metabolism, body weight, and even what you’ve eaten that day.

It’s these characteristics that make determining the right dosage for cannabis edibles a bit tricky but crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Calculating THC dosage in edibles

One of the key factors in determining the right dosage for cannabis edibles is understanding the THC content.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis that gives you a ‘high’ feeling.

Edibles are typically labeled with the total amount of THC in milligrams (mg). However, the tricky part is that this total amount is for the entire product, not per serving.

For instance, a chocolate bar may be labeled as containing 100mg of THC. But if the bar is divided into 10 pieces, each piece would contain 10mg of THC.

As a rule of thumb, a dose of 1-5mg THC is considered low and recommended for beginners. A moderate dose ranges from 5-20mg THC, while anything above 20mg is considered high and should be consumed with caution.

The key here is to start low and go slow.

You can always consume more if you don’t feel the effects after a couple of hours, but you can’t undo a dose that was too high.

Understanding cannabis edible potency

Cannabis edible potency isn’t just about the amount of THC. It’s also about how your body processes it.

When you ingest cannabis, it goes through a process called “first pass metabolism”.

During this process, your liver converts THC into a more potent compound known as 11-hydroxy-THC.

This compound is more effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier, resulting in a more intense and longer-lasting high compared to smoking or vaping cannabis.

However, the potency of edibles can be influenced by various factors.

For example, the effects of a 10mg edible can vary significantly depending on whether you’ve eaten beforehand or not.

Consuming edibles on an empty stomach can lead to a stronger and quicker onset of effects as your body metabolizes the THC faster.

Additionally, individual factors such as tolerance, metabolism rate, and body weight can affect how potent an edible feels to you.

Even the same dose of the same edible can produce different effects at different times due to changes in these variables.

So what’s the takeaway here?

It’s that understanding cannabis edible potency requires some self-experimentation and attentiveness to your own body’s responses.

Safe consumption of cannabis edibles

Now that you’ve got an understanding of THC dosage and potency, let’s turn our attention to safe consumption.

Consuming cannabis edibles responsibly is key to ensuring a positive experience.

Firstly, patience is crucial.

As mentioned earlier, edibles can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to start showing effects. This delayed onset often leads to the common mistake of consuming more edibles in the belief that the initial dose didn’t work.

This can result in overconsumption, leading to uncomfortable side effects like paranoia, anxiety, and extreme sedation.

Secondly, being in a comfortable environment when consuming cannabis edibles for the first time is recommended. This could be your home or any place where you feel safe and relaxed.

The thing is that the effects of cannabis can heighten your emotions and sensory experiences. And being in a familiar setting can help you stay calm and enjoy the experience.

Here are a few additional tips for safe consumption of cannabis edibles:

  • Stay hydrated: Cannabis can cause dry mouth, so keep water handy.
  • Avoid mixing with alcohol: The combination can heighten the effects of both substances and may lead to nausea or dizziness.
  • Have a sober buddy: Especially if you’re trying edibles for the first time, it’s good to have someone sober around who can help in case you’re uncomfortable.

My first experience of using cannabis edibles

I remember my first time trying an edible.

There was excitement, curiosity, and a little bit of nervousness.

But knowing what I was getting into made all the difference. Understanding dosages, potency, and safe consumption practices helped me turn that nervousness into a sense of preparedness.

So, if you’re about to try cannabis edibles for the first time, take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned so far.

You now know how to calculate THC dosage in your edibles, understand the factors affecting their potency, and have tips for safe consumption at your fingertips.

We all have unique bodies with unique responses to cannabis.

That’s why I advise you to take this newfound knowledge and apply it to your own experiences, always listening to your body and adjusting as needed.

Comparing the strength: 500mg vs. 20mg edibles

A common query among cannabis edible users, especially beginners, is the strength of a 500mg or 20mg edible.

To put it into perspective, a 500mg edible is incredibly potent and is generally not recommended for beginners or even moderate users.

Consuming such a high dosage can lead to uncomfortable effects, including intense euphoria, paranoia, and even physical discomfort.

On the other hand, a 20mg edible can be considered moderate to strong based on your tolerance level. For someone new to cannabis edibles, even this could be overwhelming.

Interestingly enough, did you know our bodies process THC differently when it’s ingested compared to when it’s smoked or vaped?

When THC is ingested, it’s metabolized by the liver into a compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent and has a longer-lasting high.

This is why the effects of edibles can be more intense and longer-lasting than smoking or vaping cannabis.

Again, the key here is to start low and go slow.

Here’s a quick guide for THC dosages:

  • 5-10mg: suitable for beginners
  • 10-20mg: for those with some tolerance
  • 30-50mg: for regular users
  • 50-100mg: for experienced users
  • 100mg+: for medical patients under professional supervision

Factors affecting your edible dosage

When determining the right dosage for cannabis edibles, multiple factors come into play. It’s not just about the strength of the edible but also about your individual biochemistry.

Your tolerance level, for one, plays a significant role. Regular cannabis users typically have a higher tolerance than occasional or first-time users.

Your body weight, metabolism rate, and overall health condition can also influence how you react to a specific dosage.

Another critical factor is your consumption habits.

For example, consuming cannabis edibles on an empty stomach can lead to a more intense high as compared to having them after a meal.

Let’s consider an example.

Suppose you’re a first-time user weighing around 150 pounds. You’ve decided to try out a cannabis edible after dinner. A sensible starting dose for you would be around 5mg.

You wait for around 2 hours to assess how your body reacts before deciding whether to consume any more.

It’s important to note that the effects of cannabis edibles can vary greatly among different individuals.

Respecting the duration of cannabis edibles

Having established the factors influencing your cannabis edible dosage, it’s crucial to also understand and respect the duration of their effects.

Unlike smoking or vaping, where the effects are almost immediate, edibles require more time to kick in.

This delay is because the THC in edibles needs to be processed by your liver before it enters your bloodstream. Therefore, you might not feel the effects for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours after consumption.

Furthermore, these effects can last much longer – up to several hours.

So, if you’re wondering why you’re not feeling anything after 30 minutes of consuming an edible, don’t rush into consuming more. Be patient and give it some time.

  • Onset time: The effects of edibles can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in.
  • Peak effects: The peak effects usually occur about 2-4 hours after ingestion.
  • Duration: The effects can last up to 8 hours or more, depending on your dosage and individual metabolism.

Understanding these timings can save you from an uncomfortable high and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience with cannabis edibles.

Always remember the golden rule with edibles – start low and go slow.

Final Thoughts

Having a positive and enjoyable cannabis edibles experience requires a mix of knowledge, patience, and attentiveness to your body’s responses.

You’re now equipped with information about dosage calculation, understanding potency, and safe consumption practices.

The key takeaway here is the mantra, “start low and go slow.”

It’s a simple principle that can prevent overconsumption and ensure a more controlled and enjoyable experience.

While exploration is part of the fun, it’s always critical to be informed about what you’re putting into your body.

Your wellness journey is personal, and understanding how cannabis edibles work with your unique body chemistry is a step towards more mindful and responsible use.

Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah

From Nairobi, I’m Kwame, and I’ve journeyed through the world of CBD and cannabis to share what I’ve learned with you. Experimenting on myself, I've discovered what works and what doesn't. My stories and tips are all about making cannabis understandable and accessible, helping you find the right balance for your wellness.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

The latest Move news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.