Spend time with folks who enjoy cannabis’ effects, and you’re bound to notice that nearly everybody has a different consumption tolerance.

While some people may smoke a whole joint and be functional, others may get super high off of just a puff or two. Some regular consumers will eat an infused candy with a very high concentration of cannabis. In contrast, others are satisfied eating a 2.5mg gummy.

Read on for techniques to determine the correct dosage for an enjoyable cannabis experience.

What Makes Some Super Users and Others Lightweights? 

The simple answer is that we’re humans, and everybody’s body chemistry is different. It’s similar to drinking alcohol, where one person has to down a six-pack of beer to feel drunk while their friend gets a pleasant-enough buzz off a single can. Age, gender, experience, and genetics can all play a role, according to experts.

From a technical perspective, the answer lies with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, which is just now being seriously studied by scientists. So far, we know that the ECS regulates appetite, memory, sleep, mood, and possibly even fertility. Cannabinoids like THC bind with receptors in the ECS, creating a different effect for everybody. 

The most straightforward answer, though, could depend on the strain you’re smoking

High-THC strains are becoming more and more popular. The five top strains at cannabis-enthusiast-focused website Flavor Fix all have THC rates that clock in at 20% or higher. From the 1960s to the 1980s, according to government studies, most cannabis had THC content below 2%.

This isn’t your dad’s weed you’re smoking.

Finding the Right Dose

How do you determine the proper dosage for a flower or even an infused edible that may not have a particular strain attached? Kind of a good news-bad news thing there.

Bad news first: You will have to do some research and sampling. Sure, you can take somebody’s advice. But you don’t know that person’s consumption habits, tolerance, or genetic disposition.

The good news: Today’s technology has made it easy and relatively affordable to track your right dose using sensors, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and an app on your phone. 

Right Cannabis Dosage
Photo: Tyson Anderson via 123RF

It all starts with picking out your strain. You can use databases like Flavor Fix to read up before you buy a product. Take Apple Jack, for example. Flavor Fix gives it a 9.5 “expert score.” What does that mean to you? Probably nothing.

But keep reading the review, and you’ll learn that Apple Jack apparently tastes like Golden Delicious apples. Maybe that’s enough for you to give it a shot! But it also tastes like “earthy cheese.” Perhaps that’s not as appealing. Keep scrolling.

Apple Jack typically has a THC level of about 20%, according to the site, and 2% CBD. That’s on the low end of today’s popular THC spectrum and high on the CBD side. That likely means you’re in for a mellow experience — once you’ve figured it out.

And Flavor Fix continues on to describe Apple Jack’s effects as “intensely euphoric, mood-lifting, and pain relieving.”

Next, go to your local cannabis dispensary and buy the smallest amount of flower they’ll sell you. This could be a gram or an eighth of an ounce. Roll your joint or pack your bowl, and puff once or twice. Give it about five minutes and see how you feel. 

At this point, you’ll have a good idea of what dose of this one particular strain it takes to achieve your desired effects. Unfortunately, you’ll have to start over if you don’t care for the taste and effects.

Tech Products Help

If you want to get wonky, check out gadgets like The Mode device by Vapor Dosing Technologies or Firefly 2+. This tech allows you to vape flower and/or concentrates. It will also typically connect to an app or other device and allow you to track the amount of cannabis you’ve consumed and the max temperature.

Unfortunately, these devices won’t help you figure out your edibles dosage. To determine the appropriate dosage for you when it comes to infused products like candies or cookies, start low. A 2.5mg dose is becoming the universally accepted starting point for edibles and a good “microdose” level. 

And because edibles can take an hour to kick in, you’ll have to practice even more patience.

But like all virtues, that patience will pay off when you don’t have a negative experience.

And luckily, there is technology on the edibles side, too – mostly tech that helps the high kick in faster. Try a gummy labeled as “fast-acting” (and ask your budtender about it) if you want to move along quickly.