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Cannabis Dosing: A guide to safe consumption


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With the onset of legal cannabis, many people have come out of the woods and begun to explore the effects of cannabis and how it may be able to benefit them. However, unless you have years of experience with product or someone you trust to guide you through your first time, there is really no established standard for where to begin in ways of smoking.W

In general, there are two means of ingesting cannabis. Smoking and Oral Consumption. These two delivery methods are very different in many ways. Some of the factors that can vary between the two are duration, peak high, effect on the body/mind, and the type of THC metabolized.

Let’s touch on smoking first. Ingesting cannabis by means of combustion of the actual plant matter and inhaling, cannabinoids are introduced through the lungs and directly into the blood stream. The resulting high has a much quicker onset and can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours, all depending on strain, how much is smoked, and your tolerance. The high can be described as much more cerebral, with underlying effects on the body as well. The active ingredient introducing the high is Delta-9 THC which the body metabolizes quickly and has the effects previously mentioned.

Edibles are a very different animal. Edibles are made using a standard recipe for a product to be consumed with one ingredient that has cannabinoids present. Since the cannabinoids in marijuana are fat soluble, many people use butter and oil as a means of delivering the cannabinoids into the body. Once the cannabinoids are activated (by means of decarboxylization) the resulting edibles are able to produce a high upon ingestion. The resulting high generally takes about 30 – 90 minutes to take effect depending on how the product is ingested, what it’s eaten with, and the metabolism of the consumer. The high can be described as heavy on the body with milder cerebral effects and last anywhere from 2 hours up to 8 hours. One of the main differences between why the high varies between smoking and edibles is because of the active ingredient that our body is metabolizing. Instead of Delta-9 THC, edibles introduce to our body Delta-11 THC which is more potent than Delta-9 THC in smaller doses and the effects can last much longer as well.

A quick example would be if you are taking a big hit from a joint, it can be assumed that you are ingesting anywhere from 10-20 milligrams of Delta-9 THC, with the resulting effects listed above. In comparison, ingesting an edible that contains 20 milligrams of Delta-11 THC, may feel similar to taking TWO hits of a joint(40 mg) and realizing a high lasting much longer as well.

With the availability of testing of cannabis, you can have a pretty good idea of what the established milligram count of the cannabinoids present in a product will be. With this information available, it can provide you with a very good foundation for where your tolerance lies.

As you may have heard before, it is always good to start low and work your way up.

Edibles. Start with anywhere from 5-10 mg THC doses and see how you feel after an hour. If the effects are not apparent, take another 5-10 mg and see where that puts you. Once you find yourself in a zone of inebriation that you are comfortable with, remember the total count of mg taken and work with that going forward. You will find how different types of edibles will hit you differently, come on quicker, some longer and the high may vary.

Smoking. When smoking for the first time I have seen it go both ways in way of needing very little to get people stoned and some needing quite a bit to get high. I think a big part of this has to do with learning what feeling high is actually like. It is an experience unique to every consumer and until you experience it for yourself and at different levels, you won’t really know how to ingest appropriately until you try for yoruself. Remember to consume safely in an environment where you are comfortable, and are surrounded by people you are comfortable with and trust. I find that one of the best ways to smoke for the first time is by vaporizing. Vaporizing cannabis is a much lighter smoke and significantly easier on the throat and lungs than the pure burn of a joint or bong. Start with 1 or 2 drags and wait 15 minutes to see how you feel. Continue to smoke until the desired high is attained.

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