Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 20, 2022

Exploring weed and its recreational effects is a fun process that can be even more fun when you stick to the right THC dosage for you. Once you find what rocks your socks it’s easy to enjoy yourself to the maximum and make the best of your weed sessions. 

If you’re a first-time user, cannabis dosing may sound daunting, but we promise it’s not – it’s just intuitive. And if you have some weed experience under your belt and are looking to learn more about how much THC can get you comfortably high, then welcome to the show. 

In this article, we’ll talk about how to find the right THC dosage for you whichever method of consumption you use.

Cannabis Dosing and Individual THC Tolerance

Correct dosing is integral for having a pleasant experience during your weed sessions. You want to get high, but you don’t want to experience some adverse effects that could ruin the mood, literally. 

When you consume cannabis in one form or another, it engages with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system and temporarily modifies their function. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) produces the psychoactive effects that get you high, CBD (cannabidiol) is there to balance you out, while the other cannabinoids and terpenes support the function of the other two.

Cannabis tolerance develops with the continual use of cannabis when your cannabinoid receptors get used to the presence of THC. It can increase with regular use or decrease if you stop using weed. 

However, the starting tolerance threshold of each user is unique to their own body. Each person has their own body chemistry which includes the function of their endocannabinoid system. 

Therefore, how you respond to weed will be unique to you and you alone. By extension, how you should dose THC depends entirely on how you respond to it. There is no one-size-fits-all. In general, the lowest dose that works for you should be your limit until you stop responding to it, but how does this translate to the different methods of consumption? Let’s see.

How Much THC Gets You High?

The reason why we get high and experience all the effects that come from marijuana use is the special relationship between the cannabinoids in weed and our endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of cannabinoid receptors and enzymes that regulate our key bodily functions. When we consume cannabis, the cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and others, get inside our ECS and bind to the cannabinoid receptors, which is how they produce their psychoactive, sedative, and other effects.

Since every person is unique, every one of us has a different endocannabinoid system which is why some people have a lower tolerance to consuming cannabis while others can smoke to their hearts’ delight without getting very high. As you become a more regular cannabis user, though, your tolerance level is most likely to increase, resulting in you needing a higher dose of cannabis than before. 

Apart from your ECS, there are other variables that affect how much weed you need to get high, so let’s see what they are.

What Variables Affect How Much THC You Need?

Let’s start with the obvious ones:

  • The amount of cannabis you’re consuming;
  • The potency of the strain (also, whether you’re a recreational or a medical cannabis user, as medical marijuana often contains higher amounts of CBD, while recreational marijuana contains higher amounts of THC);
  • The quality of the cannabis.

While the above-mentioned factors are important, there are others that also affect how high one will get, including:

  • Diet, weight, and metabolism;
  • Cannabis tolerance.

Just like one’s tolerance levels can fluctuate depending on the frequency of consumption, diet, weight, and metabolism also influence the amount of THC needed to get you high. For example, if you gain weight, you might need a higher dose of THC than what you needed before.

Now that you know everything that can affect how high you get, let’s see how you can come up with the perfect dose.

Cannabis Consumption Methods Vs. Amount of THC to Get High

If you’re a first-time user, please remember one thing: start low and go slow. Taking high doses from the beginning won’t do you any favors, and if anything, it’ll only end up being uncomfortable. That being said, try not to consume cannabis strains that are very high in THC as this increases the chances of experiencing side effects. Just monitor your body’s reaction to your starting cannabis dose and build it up from there, if needed.

Smoking Cannabis Flowers

When smoking cannabis flowers, it doesn’t take long to start feeling the effects, usually no more than 5-10 minutes or less, so you’ll be able to tell whether you’ve had enough or you need more puffs to reach your desired high. 

If you’re a novice, you should be careful with bongs as they produce a lot of smoke, but bowls, blunts, and joints are easier to control. Joints and bowls come in different sizes, the smallest being 0.25 grams and the largest ones come in 1 full gram. Of course, smaller ones are better for microdosing and beginners, while larger ones are for experienced users and/or for sharing. 

Finally, pay attention to the cannabis strain and its THC levels. Cannabis flowers with less than 10% THC produce milder effects and are suitable for people with a low THC tolerance, 10-20% THC strains are more suitable for occasional cannabis users, while weed strains with 20% THC or more are very potent and best left to seasoned users.

Remember that when smoking weed, dosage overrides potency, which means that if you’re smoking a strain with a low THC content and you smoke a lot of it, you’ll probably overdo it. So to sum up, always wait about 5-10 minutes between puffs to see if you need more. 

Vaping Cannabis

Vaping involves heating weed at a certain temperature which allows for the cannabinoids and terpenes to be effectively released into a vapor without combustion. The resulting vapor is very fragrant and flavorful, as well as lighter than weed smoke. 

Vaping is similar to smoking, so in the same fashion, it’ll take about 5-10 minutes to start feeling the effects of THC. However, how much you’ll need depends on what type of cannabis product you vape – dry cannabis flowers or concentrates. Concentrates are in general much more powerful so you’ll have to exercise caution if you’re a beginner. 

Vapes can produce a powerful high because they don’t combust the weed, which preserves some of the THC that is usually lost when you smoke it, so always give yourself 15 minutes to gauge where you are.

Ingesting Cannabis-Infused Edibles 

Cannabis-infused edibles work differently in the body because they have to go through the digestive system first, to be broken down, and then through the liver to be metabolized. This is why edibles have a much slower onset of effects compared to smoking and vaping. It can take at least 30 minutes to 1.5 hours before you start feeling the effects. And because of the way the THC in edibles is metabolized, their effects also last longer, which can be anywhere between 4 and 8 hours and are more intense.

Edibles Dosage Mini-Guide

Dispensary-bought THC edibles are easy to dose because the amount of THC is disclosed on the package and is measured in milligrams. Same thing with THC capsules.

The edible doses are as follows:

  • 1-2.5 mg of THC is ideal for beginners and microdosing;
  • 2.5-5 mg of THC is another good low-dose range, can also be good for microdosing;
  • 5-10 mg of THC is the standard for most occasional users with some tolerance;
  • 10-50 mg of THC is for experienced users who have a high tolerance;
  • 50 mg of THC or more is only for very experienced users, definitely not for beginners.

Homemade edibles are trickier than store-bought ones because you can never tell with certainty how many milligrams of THC are in one edible, so they’re the easiest to underestimate. That being said, always be careful with homemade edibles and take only half of what you think will suffice.

If you’re not aware that edibles take a while to be felt, the slow onset of effects may fool you into grabbing another brownie or gummy and ingesting more THC than you need. Therefore, it’s always advisable to wait at least 30 minutes (actually, an hour is best) to see how you feel, even if you’re not a beginner.

Consuming Cannabis Tinctures 

Cannabis tinctures contain cannabinoids that have been dissolved in alcohol or oil and they’re usually taken sublingually. It takes about 20-30 minutes to start feeling the effects and the high lasts up to 3 hours. If you end up adding the tincture to a food or beverage and ingest it, it will behave like an edible because it will take the same route of absorption.

THC tinctures are best taken in smaller doses at first until you develop some tolerance. The potency is listed on the label, so you can calculate how much you’ll be taking, the standard dose being 2-4 drops for beginners. As always, allow some time for the tincture to be absorbed by the body to see how you feel (and whether you need more).

Dabbing Cannabis Concentrates

Dabbing cannabis concentrates is an advanced way to consume cannabis and it’s most suitable for experienced cannabis users. Concentrates, or dabs, are some of the most powerful cannabis products on the market as their THC content is between 60% and 99%, which is way higher than the most potent weed strains.

Needless to say, dabbing is not for beginners, but if you have some experience and want to try dabs, we suggest you take a tiny amount of dab – like the ballpoint of a pen – and wait 15 minutes to see how it goes for you. Don’t be fooled by the lightweight vapor, as even though it’s flavorful (and seems weak), it’s still very potent.

Applying Transdermal Patches and Topicals

The third method of using the cannabis plant is by applying topicals and transdermal patches directly on your skin. They provide localized pain relief and they’re less-psychoactive compared to inhalation and ingestion methods of cannabis consumption. You can start feeling the effects of patches and topicals anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes, and they’re sold in ranges between 10 and 20 mg of cannabinoids (CBD, THC, or both, depending on your needs). Patches and topicals are often used as medical cannabis products, so asking your doctor to prescribe the right dose for you would be ideal.

Start A THC Journal

The best way to start figuring out how much THC you need would be to start documenting your cannabis consumption. This can be as easy as starting to record your doses in a notebook, or even on a piece of paper. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a dab rig, or enjoy puffing a joint, taking notes on the doses you’re consuming will definitely help you figure out your perfect dose.

When documenting, remember to take note of the following variables:

  • The amount of THC you took;
  • The potency of the strain;
  • Your weight;
  • What you ate prior to consuming weed;
  • How you felt before consuming weed;
  • The effects after consuming weed.

While you’re figuring out your adequate dose of THC, try altering one variable at a time. For example, try eating different things before you smoke and notice the effects after smoking. Have they changed? Maybe some foods make your experience more enjoyable compared to other foods, so the next time you plan on consuming weed, you’ll know which foods improve your experience.

Remember, Higher Is Not Better

Your THC tolerance may be flexible, but it doesn’t mean that you should push it. Each body has its own limits in how much THC it can take in before it starts to feel uncomfortable. If you take high doses of THC, you won’t get any higher, but you will start experiencing side effects such as increased heart rate, anxiety, and even paranoia.

There is a reason why they say the lowest effective dose is the best dose – it’s because by listening to your body, you can get comfortably high each time. The psychoactive effects that THC produces will feel enjoyable and not scary and out of control. So, start with a low dose and don’t pressure yourself to finish that joint or that brownie – just leave it if you think you’ve had enough.

Bottom Line – Above All, Listen to Your Body for a Comfortable High

Dosing weed properly can save you the trouble of having bad weed experiences and wondering what you’re doing wrong. In general, each person responds to weed differently, which also means that their starting dose and all subsequent doses will be unique for them. As THC tolerance changes over time, you should definitely listen to your body and how it responds to weed. To ensure you have the best experience possible, always stick to the lowest effective dose, whether you’re smoking, vaping, or ingesting edibles or tinctures.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.