cannabis dosing guide

Cannabis Dosing Guide

There are various ways to consume cannabis, each with its own benefits. This article will discuss the most common methods of consuming cannabis along with a dosing guide for each one. Gaining the mental and physical benefits of cannabis depends mainly on how it is consumed. Each method provides a unique experience and set of effects. Who knows — you could find a new favorite. Whether you are a first-time user or an experienced consumer, this cannabis dosing guide will help you choose the best route of administration for you. So, let’s get started!

Cannabis Dosing Guide

First and foremost, before deciding the best method of consumption, you must consider dosing. Because different methods of ingestion impact the body in various ways and at varying speeds, the suggested dosages vary with each method. Keep in mind that while it is difficult to give precise strain and dose recommendations simultaneously, each person’s Endocannabinoid system responds to cannabis differently.

Finding the proper dose will get easier as you become more familiar with each product. We typically recommend starting with a low dose and gradually increasing from there. Remember, you can always add more later, but you might get a different result than you were expecting if you try too much at once.

Method: Inhale 

Description: Inhalants are processed instantly through the lungs before entering the bloodstream.  

Routes of Administration:  

  • Bong 
  • Pipe  
  • Joints + Blunts 
  • Vapes  
  • Inhalers  

Pros: Rapid and instant onset, more potent and consistent effects  

Cons: Leaves behind a strong odor, making this one of the least private methods. It can also be difficult on the respiratory system. 

Onset Time | Lasting Effects: Instant | Can last around 45min to 1 hour 

Dosing Guidelines:  

Because the effects of inhaling cannabis may be felt almost immediately, controlling the dosage is much easier than with other consumption methods. One or two inhalations from a joint, pipe, blunt, bong, or vape are all it takes for an inexperienced user to experience THC’s euphoric effects. On the other hand, those with greater tolerances may need a few more “hits.”

Method: Sublingual 

Description: Sublingual products enter the bloodstream when processed through glands under the tongue.  

Routes of Administration:  

  • Tinctures 
  • Oral Tablets 
  • Sprays
  • Strips 
  • Pouches 

Pros: One of the most discreet methods of consumption, quick onset, consistent, reliable dosing 

Cons: Effects can diminish quicker than ingestible edibles and, when taken alone, can sometimes have a more natural, unpleasant taste.

Onset Time | Lasting Effects: 10-30 min. | Effects can last 2-4 hours 

Dosing Guidelines: 

A few (2-4) drops under the tongue are usually sufficient for tinctures. Tablets, Strips, and Pouches will all be individually dosed with a set amount of MG. Before you decide if you want to take another dose, wait 30 minutes.

Method: Ingestible 

Description: Ingestible products are metabolized through the digestive system before entering the bloodstream. 

Routes of Administration: 

  • Edibles 
  • Beverages  
  • Capsules 
  • Powders 
  • Ingestible Oils 

Pros: Delicious and discreet, longer-lasting effects, more potent, more consistent high  

Cons: Onset is much slower and can sometimes mislead consumers to eat more than the recommended dose.  

Onset Time | Lasting Effects: 45min to 1 hour | Effects usually last 4-6 hours. 

Dosing Guidelines:

Because the cannabinoids in ingestible products are absorbed through the gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract and processed through the liver, the onset time will vary depending on your metabolism. Several other factors play into the onset time, like how much food is already in the stomach or how hydrated the body is. The delayed onset time makes controlling the dose of an ingestible slightly more difficult. The general rule of thumb is to START SLOW! 

  • For novice consumers, a 2.5mg THC dose is usually sufficient. Before eating another 2.5mg dose, wait around an hour to see if you feel anything. 
  • For the occasional consumer, to find your desired effects, start with a 5-10mg THC dose and work your way up if necessary. 
  • Lastly, you might need 10mg+ THC to feel your desired effects for those with higher tolerances or specific medical needs. 

Method: Topical/Transdermal 

Description: Topical products are applied to and absorbed by the skin. Topicals are generally non-intoxicating because they do not enter the bloodstream. Transdermal products are applied to the skin then cannabinoids are absorbed into the bloodstream. Since transdermals do absorb into the bloodstream, this can sometimes cause intoxicating effects.  

Routes of Administration: 

  • Lotions  
  • Balms + salves 
  • Oils  
  • Patches 
  • Bath Bombs 

Pros: Provides local relief that does not require inhaling smoke or eating any calories, usually non-intoxicating, unless it is a transdermal product.  

Cons: Usually a topical needs to be applied multiple times throughout the day for longer-lasting effects 

Onset Time | Lasting Effects: 5-10 min | 45min – 1 hour 

Dosing Guidelines: 

You can apply topical products liberally for localized for relief. Since topicals are non-intoxicating, you run minimal risk of going overboard on dosing. For first-timers using transdermal patches, start with a smaller dose or cut the patch in half, wait 15-30 minutes, and gradually increase if needed. For those who have a higher tolerance, the entire patch or a greater dose may work for you. There are also cannabinoid-specific patches that can help aid with pain, inflammation, and sleep so that you can target your desired effect with these.  

With so many ways to consume cannabis, knowing which one is best for you can be challenging. The most important thing about choosing a consumption method is that it should fit your lifestyle and needs. We hope we have helped guide you in the right direction by providing an overview of each route of administration and what they offer. Have fun experimenting with different methods until you find the perfect fit! If you cannot find an answer in this article, we have many other articles about marijuana use as well! Whether it be a physical or mental high, there is no shortage of options to choose from when it comes to consuming this popular plant. 

To learn more about cannabis, click here for our free online course on Effectively Communicating as a Dispensary Tech.

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