Dosing Edibles: A Guide for Beginners  - International Highlife

Dosing Edibles: A Guide for Beginners 

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Have you ever snacked on a cannabis edible only to hit the ceiling with a crazy high? Many first-time users have experienced this unfortunate event. You can’t accurately predict your first-time reaction from a tiny green cookie to a whole slice of dosed chocolate cake.  Edible cannabis treats can potentially trigger a much more substantial high than smoking cannabis. What’s more, the high tends to sneak up on the user. Fortunately, knowledge can help you enjoy a safe and beneficial dosage from your cannabinoid edibles.  Avoid adverse side effects of THC when dosing edibles for your consumption by adequately managing the dosage.  In this article, we will provide you with a simple way how you can easily calculate the dosage of the edibles you make at home.

The Scientific Reason Why Edibles Feel Different Than Smoking 

One of the main reasons edible cannabis treats tend to hit harder than smoking cannabis is the delayed effect of ingesting THC instead of inhaling it. This delayed reaction has seen a significant rise in ER visits by weed-using newbies who exceeded the dosage on edibles, leading to respiratory and hallucinatory complications.  As with many controlled or banned substances, the reality is that when eating THC-containing foods, the desired level of reaction is reached only after a delay. Smoking a THC-rich cannabis cigarette or a bong will have a much quicker effect.  As a result, first-time users tend to eat more cannabis edibles, wondering why they aren’t feeling any immediate effects.  By the time the THC in edibles has been fully absorbed into the bloodstream, newbies may have already consumed more than what’s required. They may also have reached a more significant dosage than what is recommended for their experience level.  Being unprepared, the beginner or total newbie user may suffer serious side effects such as paranoia, insomnia, and altered perceptions.  With smoking, the user is more quickly able to reach therapeutic levels of the cannabinoids, so they will choose not to continue smoking. The THC quickly metabolizes via the capillaries in the lungs, which is a much faster absorption system than via the digestive tract.  Dosed edibles are already in the system when the user realizes they are hitting a high. A significant dose has already been ingested and continues to raise the THC level long after the user has stopped eating.  

Calculating Edible Dose for Beginners, Moderates, and Experienced Consumers 

Whether making cannabis brownies or dosing jelly babies, using the correct dose for your edibles is vital to prevent nasty side effects or unwelcome reactions. Remember, the full efficacy of dosed edibles will only kick in when you have metabolized the food carrier. The recommended dosage for first-time users is about five milligrams of THC-containing cannabis. Spread the dosage across the number of edibles you will be consuming as a single serving.  So if you intend to eat only one brownie, then the five milligrams should be the dosage for one brownie slice. Be sure to accurately measure your dose with a digital scale that measures milligrams.  If you know you’ll be greedy and eat three brownie slices, keep in mind you’ll ingest 15 milligrams of THC. This is a significantly higher dose and may be overwhelming to a first-time or beginner user.  Interestingly, the largest brownie ever dosed weighed in at 850 pounds, and it contained 20,000 milligrams of THC.  How much cannabis should you be using to dose your edibles according to your level of experience and the desired result?

The Ideal Dose for a Total Newbie

If you are a microdoser, or this is your first time using cannabis to dose some edibles, use the lowest dosage possible.  A starting dosage of one to five milligrams per edible is sufficient to give you gentle relief from pain and stress and help you deal with anxiety.  At this dosage, you will feel more clear-minded and better able to focus on your studies and work.  A quick way to dose is to add some cannabis-infused oil or cannabutter to some peanut butter as a yummy treat. This is a more suitable consumption method than the peanut butter gelato variant. That’s more effective but may be overpowering for first-time users. 

The Perfect Dose for a Beginner

If you’ve used cannabis before and are familiar with some of the after-effects, then you can up your dosage slightly. You will be more familiar with how many more edibles you can dose and consume without suffering an unpleasant high.  If you are a beginner and use cannabis for simple relaxation or to sleep better, use a five to 15-milligram dose. If you start at the recommended 2.5 milligrams and find the effects aren’t strong enough, don’t simply up the intake of THC.  Instead, wait several hours after eating the first dosed edible to let your body metabolize the THC. We are serious about this, you may even want to wait until the next day. After the waiting period, you can eat another edible of the same dosage. Please keep track of how much you dosed each edible, how many edibles, and how long it takes to reach the required level of therapeutic release.  These steps will guide you in deciding whether to increase the dosage next time or not.  

The Best Dose for an Experienced Consumer

The dosage for an experienced user can range from mild therapeutic doses of 15 milligrams up to 30 milligrams.  Your edibles will trigger euphoria, a soothing high, and improved sleep at these dosages. Those not accustomed to these dosages will find the effects problematic and negative.

A Dose for a Daily Consumer

With daily use, users should be aware of the cumulative effect of THC, which remains in the bloodstream long after the ingestion. If you use weed daily, your quantities will begin to accumulate into a bigger high.  Dosages should remain at the 15-50 milligrams per edible rate; however, you can increase this if you start building up a resistance to the levels of THC. What about those who require a bigger high or need higher levels of THC to manage chronic conditions? You can dose edibles with up to 100 milligrams or even higher if your body allows it. However, these levels are recommended for patients with chronic conditions such as cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.  In short:
Dosage 1 – 5 mg 5-15 mg 15-50 mg 50 -1000 mg
Experience First-time users Beginners  Experienced users  Medical patients or those with resistance to THC

How Long Does It Take for Edibles to Hit?

On average, depending on the dosage, edibles will start kicking in at around 30-60 minutes. Edibles with a higher dosage will potentially kick in faster, while it will take longer to feel the effects with a lower dose. Sucking on dosed edibles, such as lollipops and lozenges, may increase the absorption rate of the THC. The mucous membranes of the mouth more easily absorb THC (through sublingual absorption) than the stomach lining will.  A jelly works faster than a brownie if you suck the jelly. When you need to chew the edible, it takes longer for the effect to kick in, as the food needs to be digested first and metabolized by the liver. Only after those processes is the THC released into the bloodstream.  Depending on your metabolism and the rate of ingestion, you may find that some edibles only kick in several hours later. As a good measure, take your next edible dose at least 24 hours after the first edible. 

How Long Do Edibles Last?

Since the dose of an edible needs to be metabolized, the effects will last quite a bit longer than when vaping or smoking. The therapeutic effects of edibles can last as much as six to eight hours depending on the speed of metabolization, weight of the user, age, and gender.  After ingesting edibles, you may reach peak levels of THC three hours later. This is when the effect will peak, but there may be lingering effects up to eight hours later, depending on the amount dosed.  Eat one dosed edible such as a gummy bear at five milligrams, and eat another gummy bear of the same dose at least 10 hours later. As a result, you will have a staggered release of THC’s beneficial highs. Lozenges are effective because you are less likely to eat a whole box. Sucking a lozenge every 10-12 hours provides a sustained release for therapeutic use.

What Happens If You Get Too High?

Overdoing it with dosed edibles can have some very unpleasant effects. Getting too high or “greening out” can lead to hallucinations even days after eating the dosed edible. If the symptoms persist, consult with medical healthcare professional. 

Get the Dose Right, Start Low and Go Slow

Never eat dosed edibles when driving or operating machinery if you are unsure of their effects. Edibles can trigger unpredictable highs and even overdoses, leading to drowsiness, hallucinations, paranoia, and delusional behavior. A worst-case scenario could be a trip to the ER.  When deciding on the amounts to dose your edibles, consider whether the edible is a chewable or a sucker. This influences how fast you will feel the effects.  Regardless of whether the edible will be absorbed quickly or not, always start at a lower dose if you are unsure of your tolerance to THC. Be sure not to consume another edible before 24 hours have passed to prevent sudden cumulative highs. Happy dosing!  

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