Dear Dabby: How To Take a Proper Dose of Cannabis
Edibles can provide powerful medicinal relief, but can also bring on bouts of panic if taken incorrectly. Comedian Ngaio Bealum answers questions on how to dial in on a dose.
What is the right dosage for an edible? — Indy Gestion
I wish I knew. Everyone is different. Body weight, personal tolerance levels, how much you’ve had to eat beforehand, all kinds of things factor into how an edible will make you feel. Anecdotal experience shows me that 10 mgs of THC per 100 pounds of person is a good rule of thumb. One way to get an idea of your ideal dosage without going too far is to get some of those “microdose” candies that are usually about 5 mgs of THC apiece, eat a few and keep track of how you feel. This should give you a good idea of what you can handle. Have fun.
I often get migraines the day after taking edibles. Is this unusual? — Brianne Payne
Not really unusual. You are most likely dehydrated. People don’t talk about it much, but it is possible to have a sort of “hangover” after ingesting a bunch of pot. Think about the cottonmouth you get after smoking a joint. Now think about how much more THC is in an edible. Boom. Problem solved. Drink way more water next time. If you still get headaches, lay off the edibles. Good talk.
High Ngaio, I have been smoking weed on the daily for a long time. I just don’t get as high as I used to get. What should I do? —Tommy Tolerance
You have two choices: Start smoking a bunch of hash, or just quit smoking weed for a while. Hash will get you hella high, but eventually, you will also develop a tolerance to hash as well, and hash gets expensive. Just take a “tolerance break”: Stop smoking for like a week or two. You may feel weird at first, but you will have vivid dreams and a little extra money. After two weeks, smoke a bowl and see if you don’t get higher than you’ve been in a while.
Where are edibles made? I’m asking specifically about chocolate bars, cookies, brownies, et al. that are sold at medical cannabis dispensaries. Are they made in commercially licensed kitchens? Do local health departments approve? What’s the law? What assurances do we have that medical cannabis food products are prepared with attention to food-safety standards? — Alkali Hank
Good question. Back in the day, most commercially sold edibles were made in someone’s home. These days, commercial kitchens pump out most of what you find in the clubs. Fortunately, there have been no known instances of someone getting food poisoning from an edible bought at a dispensary, although I am sure some people have gotten uncomfortably high.
If you are asking me this question because you want to make cannabis-infused foods to sell, remember: You aren’t making a batch of cookies for friends. You’re making food for people with a variety of illnesses, and some people may have weakened immune systems, so you need to be as clean as you can possibly be. The biggest challenge is making sure the product is consistent. The guidelines from the San Francisco Department of Public Health are a good place to start.
Perhaps we should discuss the dangers of ingesting cannabis instead of smoking it. When you eat marijuana-infused foods, the THC is metabolized by the liver instead of the bloodstream, leading to stronger, longer-lasting effects. People need to be careful. Three years ago, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote about a bad adventure she had with some cannabis-infused chocolates. Turns out she ate a 16-dose piece of chocolate. No bueno. But here is the best part: She didn’t die. No one has died purely from eating too much marijuana, although they may feel like they might. Too much booze can kill you. Too much weed just makes you feel weird. So there’s that.
What we need to do is learn to be careful with the weed products. Err on the side of caution, people. If you are unused to marijuana, perhaps you should start with a 5 or 10 mg candy before eating a 16-dose brownie. Likewise, the people that work at the recreational cannabis stores should work very hard to make sure the noobies know just how strong a particular edible is. Like Alyssa Rosenberg points out in a nice column for the Washington Post, it’s going to take a little bit of trial and error for us to get it dialed in. Enjoy your adventures.
Ngaio Bealum has been a cannabis advocate for more than 20 years. He is the former editor of West Coast Cannabis magazine. He also writes about cannabis for a variety of publications and also produces canna-centric events all over the country. In his spare time, he travels around the country telling jokes. He has opened for Dave Chappelle and Weird Al, and is a frequent guest on the Doug Benson podcasts. Mr. Bealum also prefers sun-grown cannabis to indoor marijuana.
Originally published in Issue 28 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE
TELL US, do you know how to take the right dose of marijuana for you?