Cannabis is more mainstream than ever. And with an array of high-quality products now available, the ritual of its usage, much like wine, may be about more than just the results. Unlike wine, however, there’s no such helpful measure as a glass to mete out doses. So where does the canna-curious consumer begin?
Most product breakdowns are focused on cannabidiol (CBD), which is claimed to relieve anxiety, physical pain, insomnia and more, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component that produces the telltale “high.” Colorado and California law both define one edible serving as containing 10mg of THC.
Weed dosing shares some characteristics with booze, says Katie Stem, CEO and co-founder of Peak Extracts, an Oregon edibles producer. In the same way a vodka-soda and a vodka Martini are not exactly identical “doses” of vodka, and either may affect different people different, cannabis effects can differ based on user and consumption method. Factors include tolerance, what or when you ate, your size, speed of ingestion and other medications you take.
“The biggest difference with tolerance with cannabis versus alcohol is that people can develop tolerances that are not possible with alcohol because you can’t overdose with cannabis,” says Stem. “So chronic users can get ludicrous tolerances because no amount that they consume will ever make them pass out or die.”
The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook (Chronicle Books, 2012) author Elise McDonough points out that edibles can take hours to kick in and can also last hours. Start with a really small dose, and wait to see how it affects you. Vaping and smoking will take effect more immediately and wear off faster.
Keep in mind, she says, that more potency doesn’t necessarily equate to a better experience.
“Just like in the world of wine, people who are wine connoisseurs are not selecting the wine with the highest alcohol content,” says McDonough. “Just like people are now starting to get away from the idea of selecting just for the highest THC percentage.”
Worst case scenario? You can just take a little nap and try again the next day.