Cannabis 101: Finding the Perfect Dose

Whether you’re a medical marijuana patient or just looking to get the most enjoyable high possible, dosing is the key factor for achieving the most benefits and the least adverse effects of cannabis. First-timers and experienced users alike often underestimate just how much they can handle, which inevitably leads to problems down the line. So read this helpful guide to get a sense of how you can figure out your perfect dose.

Start Low & Go Slow

The most basic principle when dosing for cannabis is to start with a lower dosage and steadily go up slowly in order to achieve the desired effect. Impatience is one of the leading reasons that cannabis users end up overdoing it, as the benefits of cannabis are not always immediately felt. This can lead people to take larger and larger doses before the first dose even has the chance to take effect. The result is that usually, by the time they finally feel its impact, they are already on their way to a heavy trip than they were expecting.

Rather than rushing in and trying to get an immediate effect, it is important to take your time and let the initial dose run its course. Not only does this prevent you from overdoing it, but it helps you better understand your own upward limits. Everyone has different experiences with cannabis and what feels like a small dose for some people can be more than enough to get someone else high. By starting low and slowly increasing your dose, you get a better sense of your various tolerances, which can allow you to better tailor future experiences to your needs.

Understanding Routes of Administration

Another reason to go slow when you’re first starting with cannabis is that you can get drastically different experiences based on your “delivery method.” Eating a cannabis edible will result in a very different experience than smoking a joint or using a vape, so it is important to be aware of this ahead of time. In general, most methods for using cannabis can be broken down into three categories: inhalation, oral, and topical.

  • INHALATION (Smoking, Vaping, etc.): Of the different methods for using cannabis, inhalation has the advantage of giving the patient heightened control to adjust their dosage for maximum effect. This is due in part to how quickly cannabis takes effect when smoked. When you smoke marijuana, the smoke is taken into the lungs and absorbed through the capillaries. The result is that people usually first start experiencing the effects of cannabis within a few minutes of their first puff. It is recommended to take a 1-2 second inhalation and wait 5-10 minutes to assess the effect. From there, you can rinse and repeat until you’ve achieved the desired effect. The effects of smoking cannabis can last anywhere between 1-5 hours.
  • ORAL (Edibles, Tinctures, etc.): Some people aren’t comfortable with smoking, so many patients prefer the oral administration of medical marijuana. The results are much slower than smoking cannabis, taking anywhere between 1-2 hours to take effect. Additionally, the effect of taking an edible tends to last much longer than inhalation, generally anywhere between 6-8 hours.
  • TOPICALS (Creams, Lotions, etc.): Topicals aren’t commonly used for recreational purposes, but they can be very useful for medical cases, as they can be used to treat localized problems such as pain in a single joint or skin conditions with a small, limited area. It is also preferred by many due to its lack of psychoactive effects. Typically, it can take up to an hour to achieve the full effect and the duration of benefit varies.

Remember – There Is No “Ideal Dose”

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a “standard dose” of cannabis. While cannabis products are often produced in doses of 10mg, 20mg, 40mg, 80mg, and 100mg, these are mainly based on average reactions to the drug rather than any kind of medical standard. This is because numerous factors impact someone’s reaction to cannabis, from bodyweight to one’s personal tolerance for THC.

That said, the smallest retail dose you will likely find for cannabis-based products is 10mg, which is a decent starting point for most medical marijuana patients and first-time cannabis users. 10-15mg is usually enough to get both the psychoactive effects of marijuana and the medicinal benefits of cannabis, so this is usually the right place to start. From there, it is simply a matter of adjusting as needed to find the amount that best suits your needs.

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