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How to Determine the Potency of Cannabis Edibles and Find the Right Dosage for You

We’ve come a long way since the days of the “pot brownie” thanks to the rising popularity of cannabis edibles. Nowadays you can find breath mints, chocolates, cooking oil, gummies, and so many more cannabis-infused edibles at a medical and recreational dispensary.

For years, cannabis connoisseurs have baked their favorite strain into foods at home, but homemade edibles can be a risky way to consume your medicinal herb if you don’t know the potency of every serving size. If your special brownies are improperly infused or not dosed precisely, you may be biting off more than you can chew – especially if you have never eaten a cannabis edible before.

Ideally, everyone’s first experience with cannabis edibles should come with guidance from professionals like the cannabis sommeliers at Abide Dispensary. This ensures your medicinal products are expertly portioned out in proper doses so you are in control of your experience. 

If you are considering trying edibles for the first time but aren’t sure where to start, this guide is for you. Below we will discuss the benefits of cannabis edibles and how to determine the right dosage for your needs.

The Benefits of Cannabis Edibles

Cannabis-infused edibles can provide all the therapeutic benefits and euphoric feelings of cannabis without the need to inhale smoke. If you are looking for a smokeless way to find relief through cannabis use, edibles are a great option that can provide a number of different effects: 

  • Enhanced sleep
  • Anxiety and stress relief
  • Reduced muscle spasms and inflammation
  • Alleviated chronic pain
  • Antidepressant
  • Improved digestive tract health
  • Induced euphoria
  • Much more!

Cannabis edibles can be infused with different types and amounts of cannabinoids to provide patients optimal relief from a variety of chronic conditions.

THC Edibles vs CBD Edibles

Two of the most common cannabinoids you will find in medicinal cannabis edibles are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)

THC is the primary cannabinoid responsible for the intoxicating feeling cannabis provides users. THC edibles are credited for being a great solution to chronic pain, sleep disorders, and appetite stimulation.

CBD has no intoxicating effects when you consume it, and can balance and even curb THC’s psychoactive effects, providing a more mellow experience. CBD edibles help millions of patients find relief from stress, anxiety, and inflammation without the feeling of being high. 

You can find a variety of medicinal edibles that are specifically infused with both of these cannabinoids, as well as products that utilize a single cannabinoid to provide specific benefits. 

How is Cannabis Edible Dosage Measured?

Most medicinal cannabis edibles are measured by the milligram (mg). This weight measurement relates to the amount of THC or CBD present in the edible, not the weight of the total product.

It’s very important to know the specific cannabinoid serving size to determine the proper dosage. Serving sizes are typically 5 to 10mg with some cannabis edible products containing up to 500mg in a complete package. For example, our Kiva Espresso Dark Chocolate Bar has 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD per piece of chocolate, and 100mg of each in the entire package. 

The effects of dose sizes vary and can result in a negative experience if not properly measured. Here are some common effects of certain THC dosage:

  • 1 to 2.5mg: This is considered “microdosing” and is great for first-time consumers or those looking for minimal effects. It can improve focus and creativity, as well as provide some mild pain and stress relief.
  • 5mg: This is a typical serving and great for a casual cannabis experience. 5mg of THC is enough to induce a slight intoxicating feeling and moderate symptom relief for low tolerance users.
  • 10-15mg: This dosage will likely lead to a much stronger intoxicating effect and can impair coordination if the experience is new to you. It will provide increased pain relief, and can aid in sleep.
  • 15-50mg: A dosage this high is only recommended for high-tolerance consumers that have plenty of experience with edibles. This is very likely to impair coordination at an intoxicating level and if you are not accustomed to this amount of THC it can result in some negative effects, including nausea, and rapid heart rate.
  • 50+mg: This high dose should be reserved for experienced THC users and patients with significant inflammatory disorders, cancer, or other serious conditions. Otherwise, it can induce negative effects such as nausea, rapid heart rate, extreme coordination impairment, and anxiety.

How to Find the Best Edible Dosage for You

Because everyone is unique, the effects of THC in edibles can differ from person to person. Tolerance, body chemistry, and the desired experience are all factors in determining what your ideal dosage is. 

Unlike smoking cannabis, which enters the bloodstream quickly through the lungs, cannabis edibles are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive tract. From there, It makes its way to the liver where the active cannabinoids (THC and CBD) are metabolized, and 

released back into the bloodstream for its final journey to the brain where the effects are felt.

How Many MGs of Edibles Should I Eat on My First Time?

The cannabis experts at Abide Dispensary recommend a dose of 2.5mg to 5mg as a perfect place to start for a first-time edible consumer. The effects will be minimal, but measurable enough to help you decide if a higher dosage is needed for future experiences. Going above a 10mg dose is not advised for anyone without any prior experience with cannabis edibles. 

Our biggest piece of advice is to start low and work your way up to a comfortable level over a series of sessions. Remember to start low and go slow!

How Long Does it Take for Cannabis Edibles to Kick In?

The common trope with cannabis edibles is that it takes a long time to kick in. And it’s true! 

Cannabis edible effects will typically take anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. This window ranges drastically due to varying factors such as the amount of the active ingredient (high concentrations kick in faster) and the consumer’s biology.

New edible users may get discouraged if they don’t start to feel an effect right away and end up eating too much, which can lead to negative effects. The best rule is to be patient and wait until your next session to raise your dose if you don’t feel anything the first time!

How Long Do the Effects of Cannabis Edibles Last?

Cannabis edibles produce a more intense high that lasts much longer than smoking. Edibles bind to the fats in our body and can make the cannabis effects last up to 8 to 10 hours. Because of edible’s longevity, it’s important to clear your schedule or utilize them before bed to avoid activities that you may be too impaired for.

Can I Overdose on Cannabis Edibles?

There is no such thing as a toxic level of THC, but “overdosing” is common with unregulated or homemade products. Luckily, unless you do something prohibited like driving a car or operating heavy machinery, THC overconsumption is not fatal – but will likely kill your good time.

What Can I Do if I Get My Dosage Wrong?

If you’re experiencing the negative effects of overindulging in cannabis edibles, there are some things you can do to reduce the effects and get through a bad trip.

  • Drink lots of water, preferably with lemon in it. Water will help speed up the digestive process while the compounds in the lemon can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. 
  • Relocate to a calm, safe environment and breathe. Being somewhere you are comfortable will help get you in a calmer headspace that takes the focus off negative side effects. Just breathe and realize the feeling will pass with time.
  • Ingest some CBD. CBD can counteract the effects of THC in your system to help you relax and even fall asleep. Try a product with 10mg to 15mg of CBD, and be sure it doesn’t include any traces of THC.
  • Sleep it off. Unfortunately, there’s not much more you can do to stop the effects of overconsuming THC. If you’re able, a full night’s sleep will help you get through it without experiencing the negative effects.

Learn More About Cannabis Edibles From the Experts at Abide Dispensary

At Abide, our goal is to help all our patients find relief through medicinal cannabis in a form they are most comfortable with. Our cannabis sommeliers are here to provide personalized recommendations and dosage guidance to suit your individual needs.

Visit our new cannabis dispensary in downtown Napa to meet our expert team, and allow them to lead you through our selection of high-quality medicinal cannabis edibles. Or order your favorite products online for curbside pick-up or same-day local delivery!

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