Cannabis: The importance of Dosage and Consumption Methods

As with most medication or supplements, it is important to find out what the proper dose of cannabis is to achieve the desired positive results.  That being said, it is also very important to know how to properly consume cannabis. Everyone’s body and brain is different and as such, the consumption of Cannabis in any form can affect different people in different ways.

A medium dose of any cannabis product can be used to deal with pain for one individual, but that same dose may be too high for another person which can cause negative effects such as, anxiety and even panic attacks.

It is strongly recommended to start out with a very low dose of THC and CBD at first so that one can monitor the effects it has one’s body and mental state. The user can then slowly increase the amount used until the desired effects are reached for that individual. 


If you choose to use cannabis it is important to educate yourself. This article doesn’t go very deep scientifically into how cannabis is processed by your body or which receptors in your brain certain cannabinoids attach to — but this article does provide some general information to get you comfortable speaking with your bud-tender, family member or doctor.

Below are consumption methods along with the onset of effects for each:


Combustion

The traditional method of consuming cannabis in which most people are aware of is smoking the buds of the Cannabis flower. Smoking cannabis rolled in either tobacco or other paper burning products is probably the easiest way for beginners to consume Cannabis because it is easy to know exactly how much is consumed and the user can stop at any time if the desired effects are reached.

Cannabis flower can also be combusted using a glass pipe or “piece”. This can provide a better experience because the user is only smoking pure cannabis.  That is due to the fact that there is no need to roll it using tobacco or rolling paper materials. Traditional smaller handheld glass pipes such as bowls and “one-hitters” allow the user to quickly consume cannabis without the use of rolling papers, simply by packing the bowl with the ground cannabis flower then simultaneously inhaling through the mouthpiece while burning the cannabis. The next step up from this would be a water pipe, or “bong” which is a glass piece that works similar to a bowl or “one-hitter” but, as you can assume from the name, a water pipe means that the glass piece contains percolators or glass chambers inside the piece that allows the cannabis smoke to be percolated, or ran, through water to cool off the smoke and remove particulate material that can cause a hit to become harsh or unpleasant. For new users the use of a glass bowl or one-hitter is a good consumption method to learn how much cannabis a user needs to achieve the desired results, however, when using bigger glass pieces and water pipes it is strongly recommended to use with caution because these allow the user to inhale more cannabis smoke as compared to smoking cannabis in its rolled form. Consumption through water pipes or bigger glass pieces is recommended for more experienced users that know their limits. 

Effects Onset of Combustion

Onset of Effects: 90 seconds
Peak Effects: 15 – 30 minutes
Duration of Effects: 2 – 3 hours

Edibles: USE CAUTION

Edibles are a perfect alternative to smoking for users that wish to experience the effects of cannabis but don’t want to have to inhale smoke or vapor. However, edibles tend to provide the user with a stronger and longer high due to their offset effect and the body’s digestion process. The effect of an edible may not become noticeable for at least 30 minutes but can take as long as 2 hours after consumption.

Edibles also affect your body differently as opposed to smoking where THC enters your body through your lungs, whereas an edible is eaten it is digested and enters the bloodstream via the liver. This process allows much more THC to enter the blood-brain barrier making the effects of THC from an edible much more prominent and long-lasting.

For this reason, the dose of edibles being consumed is very important – if you take too much it may compromise your desired experience. In order to avoid this, it’s recommended that beginners take 5 to 10 mg at first, and wait for one and a half to two hours to see how that dosage affects them. If the desired effect is still not reached the dose can be increased next time being consumed it is recommended to dose slowly in 5 or 10 mg increments until the desired effects are reached.

Effects Onset of Edibles

Onset of Effects: 30 – 120 minutes
Peak Effects: 2 – 4 hours
Duration of Effects: 2 – 6 hours

Newer Alternative Consumption Methods

In recent years a new type of cannabis consumption has become mainstream with the increasing availability of Cannabis concentrates. Cannabis concentrates are classified as the active components and cannabinoids of the cannabis flower are extracted from the flower leaving only the non-carbon material. This concentrate can then be smoked using a method called vaporization, which is much different than smoking the traditional flower because there is no actual combustion.  Vaporization is achieved by heating up the Cannabis concentrate or by placing the cannabis concentrate on a nail or coil that is between 315 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

The most mainstream and discrete consumption method for consuming concentrates are prefilled vaporizer cartridges that use an electric heating element powered by a battery to heat up the concentrate and vaporize it when the user pushes the button and inhales through the mouthpiece. The use of prefilled vaporizer cartridges is probably one of the easiest and cleanest ways to consume cannabis at this point. However, due to the higher dosage of THC and other cannabinoid content in concentrates, new users should be careful to not consume too much when trying this consumption method. If a new user wishes to try this consumption method, it is recommended that they take it one hit at a time and wait to experience the effects. If the desired effects are not reached, then the user can keep using until they reach their desired level of effects. 

The other way to consume concentrates is the use of a vapor rig and a nail. A vapor rig is similar to a glass piece or water pipe. However, instead of inserting a bowl filled with cannabis flower, a nail is used that is then heated up to the proper temperature, and then the concentrates are placed on this while inhaling through the mouthpiece. This consumption method is strongly recommended for only the most experienced users due to the fact that the concentrate being consumed has a much higher THC content than the traditional flower. If the concentrate is consumed while it is too hot, it can cause a very unpleasant experience in which the user can get much higher than desired, potentially inducing some of the negative effects of cannabis such as, anxiety, panic attacks, and increased heart rate.This process can also be dangerous because the process of heating up the nail requires using a blow torch or electric nail that needs to be heated to around 400 degrees which need to be taken seriously if this is your desired consumption method.

Effects Onset of Newer Alternative Methods

Onset of Effects: 90 seconds
Peak Effects: 15 – 120 minutes
Duration of Effects: 2 – 4 hours

CBD

CBD or cannabidiol is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis other than THC and is known to be the non-psychoactive part of cannabis. This is because the use of CBD does not cause the traditional cerebral effects or “high” that is associated with cannabis while continuing to deliver the many health properties of the Cannabis plant. CBD is used to treat ailments like pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, nausea, and has been shown to help patients cope with symptoms when seeking treatment for diseases such as cancer. CBD can be used alone or in combination with THC to achieve the desired effects and health benefits. 

CBD alone is recommended if you are looking to experience the countless health benefits of the cannabis plant while avoiding all the psychoactive effects.

CBD Consumption Methods

Today, CBD comes in countless different forms, but the most common consumption method is probably just consuming CBD oil in the form of tinctures or edibles. Tinctures are most common because most users prefer to take a dropper full of tincture containing concentrated CBD oil at whatever concentration of CBD they feel is right for them. This allows the user to get the countless health benefits of cannabis without the cerebral effect or “high”, while not having to consume any extra sugar or calories that are unavoidable when CBD is added to an edible.  Edibles are the second most popular option, they come in many different forms such as candy and drinks. This is another sufficient option if someone doesn’t want to take a CBD tincture or even if one is looking for some variety. These edibles come in different doses so, users are advised to check the package before consuming to make sure it fits your needs. Pure CBD vape cartridges are also available if vaporizing is your preferred method of consumption. These vape cartridges work exactly like the THC counterpart utilizing an electric heating element to vaporize the CBD Concentrate. These are harder to dose because normally cartridges give you an amount of CBD per half a gram or a full gram cartridge. Thus, they are recommended for experienced users that are fine with not receiving an exact known dose of CBD.  The final consumption method of CBD which is probably the least used is smoking the CBD dominant Cannabis flower. These specific strains have a very low THC content ( normally under 1%) and allow the user to smoke CBD as if they were smoking a traditional cannabis flower without the corresponding “high” effect.

Since the effects of CBD can work directly with the effects of THC some edibles and vape cartridges come in blended ratios of THC and CBD to help the user reach their desired effect easier with a predetermined dose of both cannabinoids. 

Effects Onset of CBD

Onset of effects: 90 seconds
Peak Effects: 15 – 30 minutes
Duration of Effects 2 – 3 hours
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