When cooking with cannabis, it is important to understand potency and dosage. Remember, when ingesting cannabis, the body processes it differently than other consumption methods and it can take between 30 minutes and a couple of hours to take effect. Too much cannabis can result in an unpleasant experience, while too little might not produce the desired effects. Always start low and increase slowly. If you’re choosing to use cannabis in the kitchen, understanding potency and dosage will help you cook with confidence.
- Potency. The first step is to determine the strength of the cannabis you’ll be using. This can be done in two ways. One way is by slow and steady trial. Start by adding a set amount of cannabis and trying the end product, then incrementally adjust as needed for the next batch. This way you can slowly find a dosage that is comfortable for you. This method is much slower, but more personalized and can help prevent over-consumption. The other is by relying on the percentage found on the Washington State required label on cannabis products. The cannabinoid content will vary between cannabis strains, but most recreational cannabis products contain 10-25% THC and 0.5-10% CBD.
The percentage on the label is measured in milligrams (mg) of cannabinoid (THC or CBD) per gram of dry bud. This number will tell you the average percentage of a cannabinoid found in that product. For example, one gram of cannabis labeled at 25% Total THC has about 250mg of THC per gram (which are an average of 1000mg) when activated at the right temperature. In actuality, due to variations in burn temperature and out-of-the-lab real-life factors – it is uncommon to access the full percentage of a cannabinoid listed. Mostly, these numbers are just a starting point to understanding how strong a strain might be.
Cannabis potency often correlates to the percentage found on the label, though not always. It is important to know the product you are using and its unique effects. Things like CBD content and other terpenes can all impact a strain’s effects. Unlike other substances, a higher percentage does not always mean a higher level of impairment. For this reason, it is important to understand the product you are using beyond its label. Look for information about the strain or ask a budtender to learn more.
- Dosage. Once you have determined the relative THC content of the cannabis you are using, you can start to decide how much to use when cooking for the desired effect. If you do decide to cook with flower, you must decarboxylate or “decarb” your bud first – a step we’ll cover in the next blog! While there’s no easy way to calculate THC or potency at home when starting with flower, there are products available that are made for cooking. These will have milligrams already figured out for you.
The general rule of thumb for casual consumers is 5-10 milligrams of THC per serving. In other words, if you want each serving of your recipe to contain 10 milligrams of THC, then you need to add 100 milligrams for 10 servings. Edibles found in store are almost always 10mg per serving and can give you a good idea of what 10mg feels like. Beginners should consider trying a microdose, between 1 and 5 milligrams of THC. The following chart gives an example of milligrams per serving for tolerance levels.
Often, it is a good idea to start with half of the amount of cannabis you think you will need. Once made, you can try a serving to see how strong it is. Once you understand how strong a serving is, you can then adjust how much cannabis you use for each serving.
- Allow up to two hours for ingested cannabis to take effect.
- Incrementally increasing in small amounts, like 1mg at a time, is a good game plan.
- Wait 24 hours between experimenting with a different dose.
Looking for Easy Use Dosage?
Elixir Mixer from Yield Farms is a good example of a no-fuss cooking option with pre-measured milligrams for dosage. Elixir Mixer is a coconut oil-based tincture made with 100% organic ingredients while being dairy-free, gluten-free, and free of added sugars. Each vial is 100mg, perfect for a reliable dosage when cooking or baking. Each package comes with 3 vials of Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid profiles and are resealable for easy, no-mess home cooking.
Stay tuned for more info on cooking with cannabis in our next blog, where we get into the mechanics of decarbing and how to go from raw flower to edible options.