“Dosage is key.” —Hua Tuo
By The Numbers
The typical manufacturer’s recommended dose for a THC edible is ten milligrams. However, several variables impact what the user’s experience will be at that dose. Tolerance to cannabis, body weight, personal metabolism and many other factors contribute to how someone will react to ingested cannabis. Determining a preferred dosage is very much an individuated process, and arriving at it should be done mindfully and on purpose.
For new users, dabblers and other such demographics, five milligrams is a good start in finding your magic number. Some experts recommend 2.5 milligrams as a jumping off point, but the brave souls here at Pot Advisor confidently recommend five milligrams so you don’t waste half an afternoon (see the next section) waiting for a guest that may not arrive. Of course, microdosing is all the rage and that is its own science. This article is about dosing.
Ten milligrams is a pretty reliably correct serving for the casual customer, though experienced users may find 15 to 20 milligrams to be a more suitable amount. Regular users commonly enjoy 30 and 40 milligram doses, but that is absolutely a level you want to work up to. Fifty milligrams is chiefly for heavy users with the entire day off or for sumo wrestlers. There are a wide range of medicinal applications for ingested THC, and in those environments, doses of 50 to 100 milligrams are not uncommon.
Nota Bene: Edibles overdosing can occur accidentally if you aren’t careful about reading the package labels. An edible chocolate bar is almost never dosed to be eaten in its entirety. There are usually ten squares dosed with ten milligrams each. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd famously put herself in the bushes for eight hours with a misunderstood cannabis chocolate bar. Some gelatin edibles are packed in a single block with serrations between the doses. It’s easy to make a mistake. If you get a big chocolate Easter bunny edible and you lose the packaging, play it safe and start with the ears.
Patience, My child
Smoking is a speedy delivery system for cannabis, with initial effects taking just seconds and peak effects occurring in ten minutes or less. The edibles trajectory commonly begins between 30 minutes and an hour after consumption. A recent meal slows that down and a naturally slower metabolism can delay the onset even further. If you find yourself saying anything that resembles, “I don’t feel anything—I think I’ll have another,” think back to this article and stay your hand just a little longer.
In rare cases, an edible’s onset can take up to two full hours. Figuring out the speed with which your unique metabolism processes cannabis is part of figuring out your ideal dose. They’re yummy, come in colorful packages and have goofy names, but they are a drug, and a powerful one at that. Your dose should be tailored to you. Take the time to find out what that is and your relationship with edible cannabis will be long and prosperous.
Peak effects of an edibles dose are present at around two hours after ingestion in most cases, and typically last another two hours. The tail end of the experience can remain detectable for 12 hours. Much more than smoked cannabis, whose start-to-finish envelope concludes in two hours or so, edibles require some planning.
In case of accidental overdose, don’t panic. Get to a safe, comfortable space, steady your breathing and find something to occupy your attention like music or television. Ride it out. If you report to an emergency room, it’s possible you’ll get an IV and an Ativan, but as overdosing on edibles becomes more common, it also becomes more irritating to ER staff. All they are likely to do is let you occupy a gurney in the hallway and shoot you occasional side-eye. Apart from extreme high-dose accidents, it is rare that anything goes physiologically wrong in a THC overdose. Go with the home remedy: a trusted friend, bunny slippers, hot chocolate and favorite childhood television programs.
Uptown Or Downtown, Other Considerations
The age-old sativa versus indica question must be addressed. Conventional wisdom has you going to the club on a sativa edible and staying in on an indica edible. Different strains within each species offer varying attributes, but the myrcene terpene found in indicas inspires a consistent tendency to relaxation.
You can also select a faster action formula, or formulations that include CBN, CBN, melatonin and other compounds. CBD and CBN have both been proven effective against chronic pain, anxiety and sleep difficulties. Coupling CBD and CBN with a THC edible is a logical way to take it for CBD and CBN users who are not opposed to that annoying buzz.
Read the label, start at either five or ten milligrams, be patient for onset. Increase or decrease subsequent dosages according to the occasion and your preferences. Use responsibly.