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Edible Dosing Guide: Creating a Positive First Time Experience

By Danyal Swan November 2, 2021
A Dosing Guide for First-Time Edible Users

Infused edibles are one of the most popular methods of consuming cannabis, whether it's recreationally or for medical purposes. For those who haven’t forayed into the method - or even for those who have - the biggest downside of edibles is the uncertainty surrounding dosage—determining your dosage isn’t always straightforward, and a good deal of the time, it’ll involve some level of trial and error. For some, that might seem completely manageable. Still, for other future edible connoisseurs, it can seem like a tedious (or even daunting) process.

No matter if you’re an experienced user or a first time edible consumer, it’s possible to have an enjoyable and beneficial time. Before tearing into cannabis edibles for the first time ever, make sure to review the dosing guidelines. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for an underwhelming, overwhelming, or otherwise less-than-pleasant time.

Edibles for Beginners: Our Top Edible Dosing Tips

If you’re considering trying THC edibles for the first time, make sure not to rush into your first experience. Although impatience is understandable, it can also backfire quite significantly, leading to a negative time, as well as a decreased desire to continue consuming edibles in the future.

Instead, try to take all the necessary precautions to have the best possible first time edible experience. If you’re not taking dosing into account, it’s easy to slip up and consume a dose that is either much too high or much too low. Neither instance will provide you the best time, nor allow you to reap the benefits of edibles and THC.

If you’re determining your edible dose as a beginner, there’s more than just one variable you’ll need to take into account. Rather, figuring out your ideal dose is dependent upon several factors. The more factors you consider, the more likely you are to figure out a dosage that’s suitable to your body and its needs.

Here are some important variables to consider, if you’re a new consumer of THC edibles:

Your Overall Level of Cannabis Experience

Edible Cannabis Experience

Even if you’ve never tried edibles in the past, that doesn’t mean you’re unfamiliar with other cannabis products. In fact, much of the time, those who opt for edibles have already engaged with cannabis in one way or another (whether that’s through smoking, or another method of consumption).

As you might expect, your experience with cannabis is going to have a powerful impact on your best possible edible dosage. If you’re a regular cannabis user, there’s a chance that you’ve built up some amount of tolerance to the plant. So, if you already have some degree of tolerance to the effects of cannabis and THC, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to start out with a higher edible dosage. In those instances, it’s best to be as cautious as possible, until you’ve determined the effect cannabis has on your own body.

Even then, that isn’t the only reason cannabis experience is worth considering if you’re a first time edible user. If you’ve used cannabis before, you have some kind of idea of how THC affects your body. Typically, you’ll know what to expect out of your high, generally speaking. If you don’t know what to expect, a high that’s too powerful can be an incredibly jarring (and not very enjoyable) experience. So, you should be as wary as possible, to ensure that your first time getting high isn’t too intense to handle.

Still, remember that the high you’ll experience after consuming edibles isn’t identical to what you’ve experienced using other forms of cannabis. You’ll have a general idea of what to expect (as an experienced cannabis user), although it’s impossible to know the exact effect edibles will have on your mind and body. Nonetheless, you’ll at least know how you should troubleshoot the situation, if you end up experiencing an unpleasant or overly powerful high. Without cannabis experience, this situation can be far more difficult to manage.

Know Your Body

Variables such as someone’s age, body mass index, gender, metabolism, and overall body chemistry can impact the effects of THC. Some of these factors can even change over time, which will lead to changes in cannabis’s effectiveness on your body. Unsure how the state of your body will affect your edible dosage? If you’re in that position, it’s a fantastic time to have a conversation with your wellness advisor or other trained cannabis professional.

Have You Recently Eaten?

Seeing as consuming edibles involves eating food, it can seem reasonable to go into the experience on an empty stomach. However, this is far from the best course of action—especially if you’re a brand-new edible user, with little to no tolerance for cannabis or THC products.

It might sound a bit simple, but this is an important factor to keep in mind before taking edibles (even if you’re an experienced user). Try thinking of it this way: Treat edibles like you would painkillers, and take some of the same precautions before consuming your dose. Most of us know not to take painkillers on an empty stomach, as this can often lead to nausea and discomfort. Plus, having no food in your stomach can lead to the too-fast absorption of the medication. Whenever a medication or painkiller is absorbed too quickly, it’s common that you’ll experience some negative side effects. The same rule applies to edibles, as well.Whenever edibles are consumed without other foods, the onset of your high is going to happen much more quickly—rather than giving you the opportunity to comfortably ease into the feeling, at a pace that’s easiest for your body.

Always Take a Look at Milligrams of Activated THC

THC Mints

Don’t dive right into taking edibles without first paying attention to the numbers. Sure, this can often seem a bit tedious, but it’s the best way to set yourself up for success.

You should always know exactly how much THC you’re consuming, with milligrams being the most common measurement. Not only will it help you in managing effects, but it will be easier for you to replicate a dosage you had a positive experience with—it won’t need to be a game of trial and error every time you consume edibles. And, too, knowing exactly what dose you took makes it easier to titrate (or increase your dosage) when needed.

Remember: Some edibles are more potent than others, so you shouldn’t try to eyeball THC levels.

You’re Not Going to Respond the Same to Every Brand

Your body’s response to consuming THC isn’t necessarily going to be consistent, from brand to brand. So, whenever you’re trying a new edible brand for the first time, it’s a wise idea to remain on the cautious side.

Taking this a step further, different brands aren’t the only factor that can lead to an inconsistent response. The type of edible you’re consuming can have an impact, as well. For instance, it isn’t a guarantee that you’ll respond the same to THC gummies as you do infused chocolates, even if they technically contain the same amount of THC.

How Long Ago Did You Consume the Edible?

For those who are new to cannabis, this is especially important to keep in mind. Without an existing tolerance, you’ll need to be as cautious as possible; one way to accomplish this is through being patient. What do we actually mean by that? Basically, it’s a good idea to wait a bit, before deciding that a dosage hasn’t had a strong enough effect. Sometimes, the effects of cannabis aren’t going to be immediate, and it’s vital that you take this into account.

For instance, if you’re a first-time edible user, you could opt to begin with a modest 10 to 20 milligrams of THC. Say you take this dosage, but only experience a slight effect nowhere near the high you were actually hoping for. Well, don’t rush to consume even more edibles, before giving your body time to adjust. You could wait around 45 minutes to an hour before taking stock on how your body and mind currently feel. If you’re still not satisfied, you might opt to take slightly more. Again, if you’re new, make sure each dose is on the smaller side—try not to rush.

If you’d like to be even more cautious, you could even try microdosing. Instead of taking 10 milligrams, for instance, you can take as little as 2.5 milligrams, instead. This will require a fair amount of patience, although it’s a fantastic way to avoid an overwhelming or uncomfortable high.

Keep in mind that some edible brands will include information such as “activation time.” Whenever this is provided, you can refer to the number, if you’re unsure how long to wait for a cannabis infused product to take effect. Sometimes, a product can take as many as two hours to reach its full impact on the body.

More On Edible Potency

Edible Potency

Although the high you receive from edibles doesn’t occur as quickly as with smoking, it is generally a stronger effect. Why is this? The answer is actually quite simple: It comes down to your liver.

Through smoking, Delta-9-THC (a psychoactive compound of cannabis) swiftly enters the body’s bloodstream. That’s why it’s possible to experience an immediate or near immediate high, while smoking a bong or a blunt.

Edibles are different. If you take an edible, delta-9-THC is going to be processed within your liver, converting the  compound to11-hydroxy-THC, a compound more potent than delta-9-THC (and by a pretty large margin too). In fact, 11-hydroxy is able to activate substantially more receptors compared to your average hit of delta-9, too.

Still unsure how to get a sense of edible potency? You could consider taking a look at an edible dosage chart. Generally, these charts will provide information on what you can expect from particular doses of THC, as well as what circumstances that dose is best suited for. It probably won’t be comprehensive, but dosage charts are often a great starting point, especially if you’re a first-time edible user.

Journal, Journal, Journal

One of the best ways to set yourself up for success when dosing edibles is to track the product and dose you consumed, and how it made you feel. Journaling, either on paper or with a mobile app, allows you to refer back to previous dosing and analyze its effects. You can adjust your dose based on the notes you took, consuming more if effects were not enough, or cutting back if it was too much.  

Cannabis News and Information

Want even more expert cannabis content from our team? Head on over to our Cannabis Learning Hub where we’ve created resources, guides and interactive infographics to help you learn all about our favorite plant: cannabis! 

If you’re new to cannabis, be sure to take a look at our handy Cannabis 101 Guide, where we share information and advice geared specifically toward new cannabis users.

Do you have additional questions for Zen Leaf, or want to learn more about our products? Feel free to contact us any time. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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