Delta THC | Other Cannabinoids | Science

Edible Dosage Explained: THC Gummies & Dosing Edibles

Dr Abraham Benavides


Dr Abraham Benavides

Medical Doctor

Edibles are popular with cannabis users for many reasons. 

They’re discreet, produce a strong, long-lasting high and can provide potent effects and benefits for body and mind.

Edible dosing, however, can be tricky. Achieving the effects you desire depends on multiple factors, from your metabolism and tolerance, to the type of edible you eat and how much you consume.

An edible experience can be unpredictable, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several ways cannabis users can craft the perfect edible experience.

This beginner-friendly edible dosing guide will tell you how to do just that. It explores the ingredients for the perfect setup, including dosing strategies, tips for building tolerance, what type of food to eat beforehand and more.

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Key Takeaways: Dosing Edibles

  • Edibles hit harder and last longer than other forms of cannabis.
  • Because of their high potency, beginners should start with low doses and gradually increase their dose with 5 mg increments.
  • Tolerance, body chemistry, age, biological gender, medications, and diet can all impact edible effects.

Edibles Are Different To Smoking

Eating cannabis edibles is much different from smoking weed.

Even when the dosage is the same, edibles tend to hit harder and last longer.

Several factors influence these differences. But it mostly comes down to the way that edibles are processed in the body. 

Your metabolism, how much (and what) you eat beforehand, your tolerance and the type of edible you consume all impact the effects of edibles.

1. They Take Longer To Hit

The effects of edibles take longer to hit than the effects of smoking. While you feel the effects of smoking cannabis almost immediately, to feel the effects of edibles they must first be processed through the digestive system and liver before you begin to feel them, something known as first pass effect.

When an edible is eaten, it’s first broken down in the stomach. From here, cannabis is absorbed through the intestinal walls, and the THC travels through the intestinal blood to the liver.

In the liver, it is metabolized into the psychoactive metabolite 11-OH-THC. This metabolite is the reason why edibles have notoriously stronger effects than smoked weed. 11-OH-THC is about four times as psychoactive as delta 9 THC.

From your liver, the metabolized THC enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain and endocannabinoid system. When the THC binds to the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain, you’ll start to feel the effects of the edible.

This whole process can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to 3 hours. Your peak high typically occurs 2-3 hours after consuming edible cannabis.

For that reason, patience is an essential part of the edible cannabis journey. Waiting at least 2-4 hours before increasing your dosage will help save you from experiencing unwanted effects that are common from eating cannabis edible doses that are too high.

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2. The High Lasts Longer

The high from edibles can last much longer than that of smoking or vaping cannabis flower.

How long an edible lasts depends on a few different factors, including:

  • Individual metabolism (based on age, biological gender, water vs fat distribution, etc)
  • Potency of the edible
  • How much food is consumed beforehand

For example, cannabis users with a fast metabolism will fully process an edible quicker than those with slow metabolisms. In other words, an edible high will last for a shorter amount of time in users with a fast metabolism.

Eating high edible dosages can also impact the lasting time of your high. Highly potent edibles will cause stronger effects, and the comedown from these effects will take longer.

Additionally, the amount of food in your stomach prior to eating marijuana edibles can affect how soon your high starts, how long your high lasts, and how strongly you feel the high. 

Eating Before May Impact The High

Eating before you consume cannabis edibles can definitely affect your high.  

Taking edibles with a full belly can both delay its onset and weaken the resulting high. Your body needs to process the food in your stomach before it is able to process the edible.

If you take an edible on a full stomach, it can take up to four hours or longer to feel the effects. The meal will prolong its effects even if it is less intense.

With that being said, taking edibles on an empty stomach isn’t recommended either. The climb to your peak and your comedown will be steeper. 

Because THC is fat-soluble, eating a small amount of healthy oils (e.g coconut, olive, or avocado oil) or fatty foods is the best method for edible consumption.

When taken with fatty foods or healthy oils, the oil that’s used to make edibles is better absorbed by the body and higher concentrations of THC can enter the bloodstream. If you eat healthy oils or fatty foods with your cannabis edibles, you could feel more potent effects than with other types of food.

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Edible Dosing Guide

Edible dosing can be complicated.

Mostly, finding the perfect edible dose requires lots of trial and error.

An experience with edibles can become too powerful when too high of a dose is taken. As such, beginners should start with a low dose and slowly increase once they get used to how edibles feel.

This edible dosing guide will walk you through the ideal dose for your tolerance level.

When using this guide, keep one thing in mind: the intensity of edible effects can vary from person to person based on a number of factors. Always be conscious of how edibles affect you personally, and wait at least three hours before increasing your dose.

1-5 Milligrams – Light 

Start low and go slow. That’s the edible mantra.

Beginners should start with edibles with a THC content of 1-5 mg. This light dose is commonly referred to as a microdose. 

Once cannabis tolerance increases, newbies will need to adjust their dose as needed to experience their desired effects. 

The lowest dosage typically sold at dispensaries is 5 mg. If you’re not a frequent cannabis user, you may want to break up your edibles into smaller doses, though these doses will be less precise.

Beginners who take 5 mg may or may not feel strong psychoactive effects. If you’re new to edibles and consume a light dose, you might expect to experience things like heightened mood, reduced stress and increased relaxation or energy depending on the edible type. 

If you’re just starting your journey with edibles, 1-5 mg is a good dosage to start with and is very unlikely to cause adverse effects.

5-15 Milligrams – Normal Edible Dosage

When 5 mg doesn’t produce strong enough effects, it’s time to increase your dosage to 5-15 mg THC. Preferably by 2.5-5mg at a time.

This THC level is the ideal dose for cannabis users who are looking for more potent therapeutic effects like the ones listed above. Many cannabis users take 5-15 mg when they’re seeking stronger pain relief, appetite stimulation, or looking to combat anxiety or nausea.

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A 5-15 mg edible may also stimulate your brain.

Again, the strength of these psychoactive effects depends largely on tolerance, and cannabis dosing should be done according to each individual’s unique experience.

If you’re a novice cannabis user, slowly build in 2.5-5 mg increments until you reach a comfortable high. And remember to only take another dose after waiting at least three hours.

15-30 Milligrams – Experienced Edible Dose

For the cannabis consuming veteran, products between 15-30 mg are typically good  doses.

As the doses get higher, the effects will get stronger. The duration of a high dose will also last longer.

For frequent smokers and consumers with a high tolerance, this can bring stress relief and lower pain and inflammation, such as during covid. It may induce stronger psychoactive effects as well, which can inspire a more motivated or creative high.

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For infrequent cannabis consumers, too high of a dose can cause strong psychoactive and panic-like effects.

In other words, if you have a low tolerance, this dosage is likely too powerful for your current tolerance level. Rapidly increasing dosage can put you at risk for undesirable effects like anxious thoughts, fast heart rate, dry mouth, and paranoia.

For those familiar with the cannabis plant, 15-30 mg can be the sweet spot for both mental stimulation and total relaxation.

30-50 Milligrams + – Very Strong Dose

Any dose over 30 mg is a very strong dose, and it’s often referred to as a “heroic” dose.

A dose of 30-50 mg should only be taken by the most experienced cannabis users, medical marijuana patients, and those whose bodies don’t effectively absorb cannabinoids or process them too quickly.

In inexperienced users, 30-50 mg cannabis edibles can cause intense anxiety and paranoia. It can also increase heart rate, cause dizziness and motor discoordination, lethargy and significant impairment. If you’re new to the world of cannabis, it’s recommended to avoid this high of a dose.

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For users with a high tolerance, this dosage can relax your mind and body, offer therapeutic effects for sleep, induce a euphoric mood boost and more.

Any THC content higher than 30 mg can also help medical marijuana patients in treating chronic pain and preventing seizures.

If your tolerance is high and you’re looking to get even higher, experimenting with 30-50 mg edibles can help you access an intensely enjoyable experience.

Average Edible Dosage

The average edible dose for a beginner is 5-15 mg, whereas for an experienced stoner it could be as high as 30 mg. And for those with the strongest needs looking for medical relief, it could be as high as 50 mg.

Nevertheless, everyone’s tolerance is unique. It can vary based on metabolism, body chemistry, how often you consume cannabis and the food consumed prior to eating the edible.

When it comes down to it, edible dosing is highly individual.

These averages aren’t written in stone, but they can help you know what to expect when you start figuring out the best dose to fit your unique needs. 

While 5-15 mg are best for beginners or those with a lower tolerance, edibles with more than 30 mg THC are best suited for high-tolerance consumers. 

However, doses this high are not necessary for beginners to also achieve the same results. In general, you should try to keep the smallest dose possible for as long as you can.

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Guide To Dosing Your First Edibles

Here is a  step-by-step guide to help you properly dose your first edibles. Keep these tips in mind and you’re much more likely to enjoy the whole experience. 

Step 1: Start Low With 5 Milligrams of THC First

The first few times you take an edible, start with a low dose of 5 mg.

Cannabis edibles can cause potent effects that can be very pleasurable. They can also cause unpleasant side effects if you take a dose that’s too high.

That’s why it’s better to start with too low of a dose and feel comfortable rather than experiencing the increased anxiety and paranoia common when overdoing it dosing edibles.

Starting with a low dose not only saves you from undesirable effects, it lets you carefully observe how edibles affect you while safely building your tolerance.

For edible newcomers and non-smokers with a low tolerance, 5 mg should be an ideal dose for a safe and comfortable high.

Step 2: Wait At Least 3 Hours

Before increasing your dosage because you think the edible isn’t working, wait 2-4 hours.

Compared with smoking cannabis, it takes longer to feel the effects of cannabis edibles. The edibles must first travel through the digestive tract before the cannabinoids are processed in the liver.

Misjudging the power of edibles and taking another dose too quickly is a common rookie mistake. Many beginners don’t realize that edibles can take up to three hours to kick in.

While you may start feeling effects after 30 minutes, you might not. The effects of edibles don’t peak until you’re a few hours in. This fact is important to keep in mind when you first start feeling the effects. Don’t judge your high prematurely, as it will likely get stronger as time goes on. 

Waiting at least three hours before you increase your dose is a safe way to prevent anxiety, paranoia, and other yucky feelings.

If you still don’t feel desired effects after a few hours, you may choose to increase your dosage in 1-5 mg increments.

If you find that 5 mg is too much, you can cut the amount in half next time to 2.5mg THC.

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Step 3: Enjoy The Ride

Now’s the fun part: once you start feeling the effects of your edible, you can sit back and enjoy the experience. 

Edibles are known for their potency and can cause states of deep relaxation, increased appetite, pain relief, and euphoria. 

Their effects also typically last for hours. Use this opportunity to put your mind and body at ease for as long as the experience lasts. 

Step 4: Learn & Adjust

After you come down from your edible high, reflect on the experience. Consider your comfort level, your mood, how your body felt, and the intensity of the psychoactive effects. Really think about how the edible made you feel, as well as how you might adjust accordingly next time. 

You’ve completed your first experiment and have learned valuable information from the data. If you are new, it’s recommended to record the dose you took and the effects you experienced in a journal to keep track. You can then adjust accordingly moving forward.

If you feel you could’ve tolerated more effects than you experienced, try increasing your dose by no more than 5 mg the next time you take cannabis edibles.

If your heart was racing and your mind was spinning, try smaller doses until you find something that works.

How many MG of edibles for a non smoker?

Non-smokers should consume products with no more than 1-5 mg THC.

Edibles can be extremely effective for many cannabis users. Because they’re so potent, they can also cause unpleasant side effects in cannabis consumers with low tolerances.

These side effects aren’t life-threatening, but they can be scary. Extreme anxiety and paranoia are real when consuming too high of an edible dose.  

For that reason, non-smokers seeking desired effects should start with a small dose of 1-5 mg and wait at least three hours before slowly increasing their dosage. It’s very unlikely to experience uncomfortable side effects at this small of a dose.

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PSA: Remember Edibles Last Hours

One of the most important to keep in mind is the effects of edibles made from the cannabis plant can last hours.

A typical high from cannabis edibles lasts around 5-8 hours. However, it’s not uncommon for the effects of edibles to last up to 12 hours. Rarely, it can last longer, up to 24 hrs.

Learning how quickly your body processes edibles comes with time. While most edibles are labeled with dosing instructions, these instructions don’t often address how long the effects will last. 

Since the effects of edibles can be impacted by so many factors, duration is hard to predict, as it varies uniquely from person to person. The more times you experiment with edibles, the more confident you’ll feel about when they’ll kick in.

Nevertheless, you may want to clear your plans when you decide to eat an edible, especially if you’re a beginner. We all know that being too high can seriously ruin the mood. 

Plan ahead and clear your evening. Grab yourself some snacks, and don’t do anything more than exactly what your high body wants to do, whether that’s locking into the couch or creating a masterpiece.

Wrapping Up

Finding the ideal edible dose can be confusing.

After all, because the experience is affected by your metabolism and diet, it can be hard to predict exactly how edibles are going to hit you. It’s equally hard to predict how long the effects are going to last.

With careful dosing and patience, you can prevent edible mishaps.

The most valuable lesson here: start low and go slow. 

Starting with a dose as low as 1-5 mg and gradually increasing in 2.5-5 mg increments is a safe way to avoid unpleasant side effects. Always remember to wait at least three hours before consuming more, as an edible high typically peaks after 2-3 hours.

Remember to enjoy the ride. Edibles can be the perfect ingredient for a euphoric and relaxing experience, and finding the right dose can open the door to a whole new world of high.