Trying cannabis for the first time? Not sure where to start?
At the Grove, we have the entire gamut of cannabis products in stock; flower, vaporizer cartridges, edibles, extracts, concentrates, topicals, and tinctures.
Because folks who are new to cannabis generally have their first exposure to the plant through inhaling (smoking and vaporizing) or taking edibles, we wrote up a little guide with best practices for inhaling and ingesting your first cannabis products.
For most people who are completely new to cannabis and have no tolerance to the plant’s effects, starting out with a dose of 5 mg of THC is a solid place to start. Take 5 mg, then wait 2 hours before taking another 5 mg.
Depending on the product you buy, 5 mg might seem like a very, very small piece. You might feel that seems like too small of an amount, and you may wonder whether it will be enough. The reality is that if you’re new to cannabis, there’s really no way to predict how THC edibles will affect you until you try them out. 5 mg might be too little for many people, but it’s better to do too little than too much for your first time– trust us. You can always take more to feel desired effects, but cannot take less!
Everyone’s body chemistry is unique and reacts to the effects of edibles differently. The tolerance window for cannabis edibles is enormous: some folks feel the effects for a long duration from 5 mg of THC and other people don’t feel high until they’re taken upwards of 100 mg of THC and feel the strongest effects for only an hour.
What edible you’re consuming also effects the duration and experience. For example, cannabis lozenges, gummies, and drinks tend to move through the body at a faster pace as they don’t take as long to digest as a dense baked good. These forms can also be absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) if you suck or chew on them first, bypassing the conversion that happens in your liver (more on that shortly). Generally, marijuana infused lozenges, candies, and drinks will kick in more quickly and provide a more concentrated experience in comparison to baked goods but also don’t last as long. Naturally, your body takes longer to digest dense foods with more fiber and fat in them, so the effects of a cannabis infused baked good high in fiber and fat will also take longer to absorb.
When THC is digested, the cannabinoid is converted to a stronger form that is compounded by “first pass metabolism”. First pass metabolism describes how the concentration of a substance changes when it is passed through the liver or gut lining. In the case of THC, liver enzymes actually metabolize tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into 11-hydroxy-THC. This new form of THC has been scientifically proven to be more potent and more readily crosses the blood-brain barrier than original THC. The difference in effects between smoking or vaporizing cannabis versus ingesting marijuana can be explained by the synthesis of 11-OH-THC in your liver, so be careful because the effects may surprise you!
Finding your “sweet spot” may take some trial and error, but for the majority of new marijuana infused edible consumers out there, a dose of somewhere between 5-10 mg of THC seems to be the most common. In our home state of Nevada and most state where cannabis is legal, the state recommended single dose is 10 mg THC per serving. We recommend starting with half of a single 10 mg dosage which is most easily achieved with gummies or drinks.
When you come by the dispensary, ask one of our knowledgeable budtenders for recommendations on the edible that’s right for you!
If you tend to have a fast metabolism, you might be able to predict that your onset of effects will be on the lower end of the 45 min-2 hour window, and the effects may not last as long as they will for someone whose metabolism is slower.
Planning around mealtime
To feel the full effect of the edible dosage, a recent study at the University of Minnesota found it’s best to take your edibles with high fat foods. They studied the effects of cannabinoid absorption after consuming a concentrated CBD oil capsule while either fasting or with a high fat meal. When taken with fatty food, the CBD in the body was increased by four times and in the blood by 14 times. Most edible baked goods are already a solid source of fat or oil that acts as a carrier for the cannabinoids. If the edible is a candy, drink, or capsule, you can ingest your edible an hour after your last meal or with a spoonful of healthy fats like peanut butter or MCT oil to help increase absorption.
Since edibles have to pass through your digestive system before they are metabolized and circulated in the bloodstream, a full stomach can delay the onset of effects by as much as 3-4 hours. A common mistake people make is taking an edible on a full stomach, and “doubling down” a few hours later when they don’t feel anything. Once the food is digested, the double-dose that person took will hit them all at once, and can potentially result in an uncomfortable experience.
If you must take an edible on a full stomach directly after a meal, it’s best to play it safe and wait at least 4 hours before determining whether or not you need to eat more.
If you’re a person who tends to get anxious, it can be helpful to try an edible that has a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio. CBD will help to soften the effects of THC and prevent overstimulation. You can always purchase a CBD tincture to ingest if the edible experience is overwhelming. Ask one of our budtenders on staff and they will help guide you to the right product.
Dosing inhaled cannabis is complicated, but we are here to make it simple! The temperature of heat applied to a bowl and percent of THC in a smokable product, determines how much activated Delta-9 THC you will consume. The general guidelines below will make things easy to understand and can be applied the same whether you are smoking a pre-roll joint, a bowl of flower, or a vaporizer cartridge.
For starters, take one hit, wait 5-10 minutes and see how you feel. If after 5-10 minutes you feel like you need another hit, take one more. Then wait 5-10 minutes again and repeat until you’re in a comfortable place. Trust us, when the feeling is right, you’ll know.
Generally speaking, for folks new to cannabis, one to two hits is enough to feel sufficiently “high” although that will depend on a few factors that we go over down below.
Inhaling cannabis tends to be much more predictable than edibles are. The effects are almost instantaneous, and the duration of effects is relatively short as far as cannabis products go. The effects will linger, however, if you smoke too much. Only you can determine what “one hit” means for you, and likewise only you can determine how much “too much” is for yourself.
No matter how experienced a smoker you are, measuring inhalation size can be a challenge. 3 main factors will determine your hit size: the potency of the flower or vaporizer you’re smoking, what you’re smoking out of (joint vs. vaporizer vs. bowl-based vessel), and the grinding method all play into how high you will get off of a single inhale.
It’s helpful to conceptualize the strength of a flower variety in terms of alcohol. If you’re drinking whiskey on the rocks, one sip will be likely much smaller than a sip of a beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail. Be mindful of the THC label on whatever product you’re getting and adjust your hit size accordingly.
Smoking out of a bowl can be tricky. The bigger the bowl size, the better chance that you’ll take a larger breath than you intended. Make sure to be mindful of the potency of the flower you’re smoking if you’re using a pipe, a water pipe, or any other bowl-based smoking vessel.
Don’t hold it in
The old stoner movies have it wrong: after you inhale, you do not have to hold any smoke in your lungs before exhaling. Lung tissues absorb cannabinoids virtually instantly– and holding in the smoke doesn’t do anything besides irritate your throat and lungs. You may feel it’s more potent, however that’s just the effect of withholding fresh oxygen from your body.