When deciding on how much cannabis to take in any given moment, you’re aiming for a sweet spot: Enough potency to feel the effects you want but not so much that it’s overwhelming.
If you need help finding that equilibrium, look to the specialists who work at RISE Dispensaries.
“The RISE team is trained to counsel people to find the right dose for them, especially if they’re new users or have never used a particular product before,” says Elizabeth Ardillo, PharmD, lead pharmacist for RISE Dispensaries. “That’s why we’re here, and we want to help.”
Below, Ardillo answers some frequently asked questions about dosing cannabis.
Q. How do I know how much cannabis to take?
A. There’s no general answer that applies to everyone. The really cool thing about cannabis is that it’s OK to experiment with your own dosing if you feel comfortable doing so. Everyone is different; a dose I find relaxing, you might need three times that dose to feel the same effect.
If you’re completely new to cannabis or you haven’t used it in a long time, we tell you to start low and go slow, increasing your dose gradually.
For specific dosing help, it’s a good idea to talk to a cannabis consultant or patient care specialist at the dispensary. We usually recommend you start with a product balanced in THC and CBD, two of the components that cause the effects you feel from cannabis. A balanced THC to CBD ratio can help offset the high for a novice user.
Q. How do you experiment with dosing cannabis?
A. It’s really helpful for patients to keep a cannabis journal to track what they’ve taken, how much and how they felt in the minutes and hours afterward. Document how you feel physically and mentally, and whether you’re experiencing any symptom relief, such as less pain. If you feel a high, write down what it’s like and whether you enjoyed the feeling.
If you’re smoking or vaping, that’s a fast-acting delivery method, so you can take one inhalation, wait 10 minutes and see how you feel. If you don’t feel the effects yet, take another inhalation or two and wait another 10 minutes. We don’t want people to start on five or six inhalations on their first time and feel like they used too much. You can always take more; you can’t take less.
As for edible dosing, you’ll want to take it very slow, because the effects can be quite delayed. You might take 2 to 3 mg of chocolate, and then wait at least three hours before consuming any more. It can be hard for people to take their time with edibles, especially in a social setting. But if you don’t feel anything right away and just keep taking more, the dosage can pile up and hit you all at once.
Q. What do you do if you take too much and feel too stoned?
Try to remain calm. You might feel anxious, but you’re going to be OK. Sometimes people call the dispensary worried that they took too much, and I assure them that it’s just a temporary feeling.
If you have any straight CBD oil on hand, consuming that may offset some of the effects of the THC. Drinking a lot of water and taking a warm shower might help too, but don’t do the shower if you’re feeling unsteady on your feet or you’re home alone. The best course of action is just to try to sleep it off. Take a nap. The feeling will pass. And make a note of what happened in your cannabis journal so you can avoid it next time.
Q. How does dosing differ depending on the user’s needs?
If you come into or call the dispensary, we’ll ask you about your goals for using cannabis and whether you want fast-acting or delayed onset, and short-term or prolonged duration of effect.
If someone was interested in using flower and feeling a high, I’d advise starting with a product that’s 2:1 CBD to THC, and then trying a 1:1 product. The CBD counteracts the THC, but that’s still enough of a balance to experience that euphoria.
A person with an inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome may want a longer-acting product, to keep a steady dose of cannabinoids in their system. Edibles may be useful in this case.
Or let’s say you’re a teacher who wakes up with knee pain in the morning. We can set you up with a topical cream that may help your pain and won’t make you feel any psychoactive effects.
Again, whatever experience you’re looking for, we can help you strategize the right product and dose. We’d love to have that conversation with you.