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All About Edible Dosing For Beginners

By Danyal Swan August 16, 2022
Cannabis Edible Dosing

Edibles are one of the most popular and convenient ways to enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Using oils derived from the cannabis plant containing concentrated levels of THC, CBD, or both, cannabis edibles can come in a variety of forms, from baked goods to soft chews. Their convenience and great taste of edibles makes them a top choice for many cannabis users, it’s important to know how to dose them—especially if you’re trying edibles for the first time. It’s all part of Cannabis 101.

What You Need To Know About Edibles

There’s an immense variety of edibles, and every edible is different. It’s a good idea to get yourself familiar with edibles in general, including the ingredients in them, the dosages they can come in, and other concerns, before trying edibles for the first time. Here are a few things to know.

1. They Take Longer To Act

The way your body ingests the THC in edibles is different than when you smoke flower or vape. When you eat an edible, it must travel through the digestive system before it is absorbed into your bloodstream and transported through your body on the way to your brain and endocannabinoid system. Then, you’ll begin to feel its effects as THC interacts with your cannabinoid receptors. Throughout this process, your body slowly begins to break down the THC to activate it. While cannabis smoke or vapor travels into your lungs and pulmonary circulatory system almost immediately, an edible can take anywhere from 30 minutes to almost 3 hours to take effect (depending on type, dosage, and your metabolism).

2. The High Often Lasts Longer

Just like the time an edible takes to kick in is much longer than that of smoked or vaped flower, the effects of an edible can last much longer than that of flower. While the duration of an edible’s effects depends on its THC content and how your own body metabolizes substances, it’s fairly safe to assume an edible will last at least an hour.

Keep in mind that people with a slower metabolism might find they have longer experiences when they consume edibles—even up to 3 or 4 hours. People with a faster metabolism often find they have a shorter experience. Again, it’s important to reserve a large chunk of time for your first edible experience, in case the effects last longer than you anticipated.

3. What You Eat May Affect Your Experience

What many newcomers to the world of edibles may not know is that the food you eat, as well as the type of food that carries your THC, can have an impact on how the edible works in your body. Cannabis oil that’s used to make edibles can be better absorbed by your body when taken with food that has high levels of fat.

This means that when edibles are taken with meals, especially ones with higher fat content, you might experience more potent effects. It’s worth mentioning that many people also experience significant effects when they eat their edible on an empty stomach and then eat later on.

Edible Dosing Guide

When it comes to edible dosing, it can often take a few tries before you find your ideal dose. Here are some of the most common edible dosages you’ll find on the market and how they generally affect someone with a low tolerance (a cannabis beginner).

1-5 Milligrams

The lowest dosage of edibles commonly available at legal dispensaries are usually 5 mg THC per soft chew gummy, lozenge, or other product, though occasionally you may be able to find some that are even less, known as microdoses. These smaller doses can be achieved by breaking a more potent edible into chunks, though low-dose edibles are preferred as they provide a pre-measured, precise, approachable dose. When a beginner takes a 5 mg edible, they may experience anything from subtle pain and anxiety relief to increased motivation and feelings of happiness. Of course, as mentioned, these effects vary in intensity depending on a person’s metabolism, what they’ve eaten, and how high their tolerance is. 5 mg edibles are the go-to recommendation for anyone trying edibles for the first time.

Edible Dosing Guide

5-15 Milligrams

For those who are taking edibles to find relief, whether it’s from pain or stress and anxiety, products in the 5-15 mg range can help to provide more potent therapeutic effects. If you’ve tried 5 mg edibles and thought they weren’t strong enough, you can take the next step up in a few ways. Try taking two of your 5 mg edibles or buying a 10 mg or 15 mg edible on its own. If you’re not quite sure about the right dosage, taking edibles in increments of 5 mg and adding until you feel the desired result is always a great idea – just be patient. As we mentioned, edibles can take time to set in, and you don’t want to build your dose too quickly.

15-30 Milligrams

At these moderate to high dosages, your tolerance can heavily affect what happens next. For cannabis users that have used edibles before or smoke frequently, products between 15-30 mg are often the ideal dose. However, a 30 mg edible for someone who has never tried edibles before and is not accustomed to smoking cannabis will most likely be too intense. As you begin to push past a 15 mg dose up to 20-30 mg, effects will be more potent and longer lasting than the smaller doses you may have tried before. These doses are often recommended for patients with higher tolerances that still want pain and inflammation relief, as well as for experienced cannabis users looking for a full night’s sleep.

30-50 Milligrams and Higher

30-50 mg edibles are most often recommended to people with higher tolerances and those whose bodies struggle to properly absorb cannabinoids. A 50 mg edible can sometimes cause unwanted effects in inexperienced users, including anxiety or paranoia, so it is imperative that those new to cannabis edibles start low and go slow. For those accustomed to edibles, though, 50 mg doses can be in the sweet spot. Many cannabis users find comfort, relief, insomnia relief, and even euphoria with higher doses as experienced patients.

Edibles higher than 50 mg are only recommended for experienced cannabis users that have a significant tolerance of THC, along with those who are dealing with chronic illnesses and other medical conditions. For beginners edibles containing 50 mg and up could cause impairment and unwanted side effects like anxiety, stress, or an increased heart rate. For those who are more experienced with using cannabis, higher dosages like these can help achieve potent desired effects of euphoria or stress, anxiety, and pain relief.

In markets where edibles may only contain 10 mg THC per piece, try adding a dose of distillate or RSO to your edible. These strain-specific cannabis edibles can elevate your low-dose edible to the potency you need, while enhancing (or adding) strain-specific benefits.

Dosing Your First Edibles

Ready to try your first edible? Here are some basic steps to know to help you get started.

Dosing Your First Edibles

Step 1: Start With 5 Milligrams of THC

Whether you’re a long-time cannabis user or you’re just now becoming involved in the cannabis community, your first time trying edibles should always begin with a low dosage. Remember, everyone’s body metabolizes edibles differently, so it’s better to start with too low of a dose than one that’s too high for you. For a first-time edible user with a low tolerance, a 5 mg edible is the perfect place to start.

Step 2: Wait At Least An Hour

One of the most important things to do when taking an edible is to be patient. Many people don’t know what to expect when trying their first edible, so they don’t realize they may need to wait a bit longer for them to kick in. Many first timers accidentally misjudge the power of their edibles after they haven’t started working in a certain period of time, so they decide to just take more. This often results in accidentally taking a high dose and may cause unwanted euphoria, anxiety, or drowsiness. To avoid this, always wait at least an hour or even two before taking another edible, even if you don’t think your first dose was high enough.

Step 3: Don’t Panic If The Effects Are Intense

For those who are less experienced with using cannabis, edibles could have quite potent, intense effects—especially if you began with a higher dose. While some people may love the intensity of these effects, others may have been searching for simple stress relief. It’s important to try your best to stay calm. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to imagine a wave of calmness flowing over you. Though it’s tempting to panic about the feeling you get from edibles, simply because it’s new, take a step back, take a deep breath, and let yourself relax. You may find it much easier to enjoy the deep effects of your edible.

Too, many are unaware that CBD can help offset some of the uncomfortable effects of cannabis edibles. Try keeping a CBD tincture on hand as you navigate edibles and the best dosage for your routine.

Step 4: Try Again

Again, the key to using edibles effectively is patience. Not every edible will work the same or last the same amount of time, even if they’re the same dosage. This is because different edibles may use a different strain of cannabis that produces unique effects. For your next time using an edible, make sure you find a strain that produces the effects you’re looking for, then up your dosage slightly. If you think your edible wasn’t strong enough before, it’s always smart to increase your dosages by small increments. For example, if you tried a 5 mg edible and didn’t feel much, beginning with two 5 mg doses or one 10 mg dose may work better for you. If you used a 25 mg product and effects were minimal, you might need to take a bigger jump to a 50 mg dose.

Ask your local dispensary team to help you choose an edible that will give you your desired effects. If you prefer specific effects from your cannabis, like wanting to feel inspired or motivated, then a sativa-heavy edible may serve you best. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an edible to calm you down or help you sleep, indica-heavy is the way to go. By knowing the desired effects you want, you can choose a strain and a dosage that will enhance your experience the next time around.

Cannabis Edibles

Take Edibles On An Empty-But-Not-Starving Stomach For Best Results

Many professionals and experienced cannabis users can agree that taking your edible in-between meals is one of the best ways to experience the effects fully. While edibles can become more potent when they are met with food that has high levels of fat, it’s important to let your body at least begin to digest the edible before eating anything else. This way, the THC has time to interact with the different systems in your body first. After your edible has had ample time to be metabolized, eating meals with higher fat content is another way you can try to enhance its effects.

Remember That Edibles Can Last Hours

A primary reason cannabis dosing is so crucial is because the effects of edibles can last for hours. While 10 hours is most definitely an extreme, potent edibles can certainly last that long under the right conditions. You’ll have ample time to learn when your edible will start to kick in and how long it will last. Keep in mind, when you purchase edibles from a medical dispensary, they should be carefully labeled with instructions as well as activation times. However, most do not include how long the product’s effects will last because it varies so greatly from person to person.

What To Look For When Buying An Edible

Because cannabis has such a wide range of beneficial effects, there are a great deal of cannabis products available on the market today. Each of them will work a bit differently. Before you buy an edible for the first time, pay attention to the dosage and the product’s intended effects.

Of course, the dosage will be one of the most important aspects of your product. If you’re a beginner, the last thing you want to do is buy edibles that are 50 MG per piece instead of 5 MG and inadvertently take far too much. To avoid this, look carefully at the dosages listed on each product. Even better, ask one of the experts at your dispensary for edibles they recommend with the dosage you’re looking for. It never hurts to get a little help.

Find Your Ideal Dose

Edibles are one of the most popular—and most convenient—ways to enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Using oils derived from the cannabis plant containing concentrated levels of THC, CBD, or both, cannabis edibles can come in a variety of forms, from baked goods to soft chews.

We are always here to help you on your cannabis journey! If you have a question about a product or dosing method, reach out anytime!


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  2. Zipursky, J. S., Bogler, O. D., & Stall, N. M. (2020). Edible cannabis. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne192(7), E162. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.191305
  3. Barrus, D. G., Capogrossi, K. L., Cates, S. C., Gourdet, C. K., Peiper, N. C., Novak, S. P., Lefever, T. W., & Wiley, J. L. (2016). Tasty THC: Promises and Challenges of Cannabis Edibles. Methods report (RTI Press). https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2016.op.0035.1611
  4. Denver Public Health. “Facts about Marijuana Edibles and Your Health”. Denver Public Health, 2018, www.denverpublichealth.org/community-health-promotion/substance-misuse/marijuana-edible-facts
  5. Kuhathasan, N., Minuzzi, L., MacKillop, J., & Frey, B. N. (2021). The Use of Cannabinoids for Insomnia in Daily Life: Naturalistic Study. Journal of medical Internet research23(10), e25730. https://doi.org/10.2196/25730

Digital Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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