Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 30, 2022

The legalization of weed in a lot of states has made it more available for weed enthusiasts, with many new cannabis users joining the community. Smoking weed is by far the most popular way of consuming weed, but for those who have only recently started to smoke weed, it can be hard to tell how much you need to get high.

Therefore, in today’s article, we’ll talk about how much weed you should smoke to get high and what factors influence the quantity.

It’s Not a One-Size-Fits-All

Unlike the edibles or tinctures sold at dispensaries that have the milligrams of THC per serving disclosed on the package, dry cannabis flowers don’t come with that information. When you buy a baggie, you get the percentage of THC found in the strain, but not how much THC you’ll get per puff. Therefore, it could be said that smoking weed is intuitive and there’s no one-size-fits-all. 

Smoking weed is a different experience for everyone, depending on many things, including their preference and reaction to weed. The number of hits to get high highly varies from person to person. Cannabis is a very complex plant that we’re still exploring and trying to understand better, and how it affects you is all a part of the experience.

These Factors Can Influence How Much Weed It Takes to Get You High

Since there’s no one size fits all when it comes to smoking weed, we can narrow it down to a few factors that can influence how much weed it takes to get one high. These factors are subject to change and will be unique for each individual, but they will give you some insight into how smoking weed works and what you should pay attention to the most.

The Potency of the Weed

The potency of the weed will give you a major clue on how much you should smoke. Typically, more potent weed strains will get you high with just two or three hits, sometimes even one. It all depends on the THC percentage. If you’re using a strain with THC over 20%, you will definitely get high faster and will need fewer hits. On the flip side, strains that contain less than 10% THC are less potent. For example, schwag weed contains very little THC so you will typically need more of it to get properly stoned.

Your Unique Metabolism

Your individual physiology will also play a part in how much weed you need to smoke. Things like your metabolism and tolerance level will largely determine your response to weed. This is a highly unique response for each individual, so it’ll be different for everyone. Your individual physiology will determine not only how much you need to smoke to get high, but also the way you will feel the effects, whether you’ll experience any side effects, as well as how long weed will stay in your body.

Your Tolerance Level

Your tolerance, on the other hand, depends entirely on your weed habits. Over time, the body builds a certain tolerance to THC, but the starting point can vary greatly from person to person. Some people may start off being more sensitive to THC before building up some tolerance, while others experience less sensitivity as if they’d been smoking for a while, even if that’s not the case.

That being said, experienced users will typically need more puffs to feel something than beginners. Some frequent users also take tolerance breaks to reverse the built-up tolerance so that they can smoke less weed and still get high, given that larger quantities of smoke are irritating.

How Much Weed Should I Smoke to Get High?

Since we already established that the amount of weed you need to get high isn’t one-size-fits-all, let’s see how you can find the right dose for you. Ultimately, apart from your physiology, it comes down to two things you need to pay attention to, the THC percentage of the strain and the smoking method

The most important thing while you explore these things for yourself is to put comfort above everything and listen to your body. Usually, the lowest dose that works is the best dose, at least until you feel like you need to adjust it at some point.

Consider the THC Percentage

The cannabis market is so rich with a variety of weed strains to choose from that it would be hard to find someone who’s not pleased with the selection. The weed strain you choose can definitely make or break your experience, so consulting with your budtender until you learn the ropes will be of great help.

You will quickly learn that the weed strain itself will tell you only so much about the effects you’ll get. In short, Indicas are known as a sedative and better for nighttime, while Sativas are more energizing and are better for the day, and hybrids offer a unique balanced experience with specific effects. 

However, what can give you more insight about how much you should smoke is the THC to CBD ratio and the terpene content. Like we already said earlier, high THC strains are more potent and their effects are more pronounced. You will get high in minutes and will typically need fewer puffs. 

Generally, strains that have a balanced THC to CBD ratio are better for occasional users who don’t use weed that frequently but still have some tolerance. High CBD strains are great for those who are sensitive to THC or haven’t built up tolerance yet. The terpenes also play a role in the effects you’ll get because some can enhance or attenuate the intensity of THC and CBD.

Choose Your Smoking Method

The smoking method is also a big part of the experience. Everyone knows that smoking a joint is a universal way of smoking weed. Both experienced and inexperienced users can get high by smoking a joint because it’s simple and effective, and it gives you control of how much you smoke. If you tend to be careful with your dosage, you can easily tell when you’ve had enough.

Similarly, smoking from a bowl, especially a one-hitter, is also great for keeping track of your dose. You don’t even need rolling papers, you just need a lighter and your pipe.

Smoking from a bong, on the other hand, is a bit different. Yes, the experience is great and the smoke is a little smoother than the smoke from a joint because it gets filtered, but bongs produce larger quantities of smoke and you may end up inhaling more than you wanted to. On the other hand, bongs are very popular among seasoned users precisely because of the amount of smoke they produce.

Dabbing is by far the most potent of all methods, meaning that just one hit may get you pretty high. Weed concentrates contain high levels of pure THC, making them the most potent cannabis products available on the market. With dabbing, it’s not hard to control how much you inhale, but due to the smoke (more like vapor) being very light, it’s easy to underestimate. Therefore, keeping this in mind, you can definitely give it a try if you’re not a beginner.

Is Vaping Better Than Smoking?

Vaping has become quite popular because of its convenience and practicality. The smoke is very smooth and non-irritating because the dry cannabis flowers or concentrates are heated to a certain temperature – just enough for the cannabinoids and terpenes to be extracted, but without combustion.

Whether vaping is better than smoking is highly individual. There are users who cannot tolerate the harshness of marijuana smoke which is what makes them invest in a vaporizer or a vape pen when inhalation is their preferred method. Others enjoy smoking weed too much to give it up and are not bothered by the harshness of the smoke.

Therefore, objectively, vaping is gentler on your respiratory system, but whether it’s better (for you) is up to you.

How Much Weed Should Inexperienced Users Smoke?

The biggest issue for most inexperienced users is their lack of THC tolerance. Everyone starts out with a different tolerance threshold, but the one thing they all have in common is that newbies are more susceptible to side effects than experienced users. More often than not, however, this is nothing to be concerned about since it’s just a part of the experience. 

That being said, when it comes to first-time users, the one rule of thumb is to start low and go slow, especially if you’re afraid of experiencing side effects. Smoking weed while being scared may only lead to heightened fear, so going slow and sticking to your comfort zone will result in a pleasant experience.

In terms of smoking, it’s best to take one hit and wait about 15-20 minutes to see if you feel something. If you’re okay afterward and want more pronounced effects, you can go ahead and take another hit. We wouldn’t recommend taking more than 2 or 3 hits if you’re a beginner. It’s better to be barely high than being paranoid.

Finally, beginners should choose a simple smoking method. Smoking a joint or a bowl is much better than smoking from a bong or dabbing. The smoke from a bong can be too overwhelming for beginners, while dabs are crazy powerful and should be used only by experienced users.

What If I Start Experiencing Unpleasant Side Effects?

The side effects are most commonly caused by THC which is why users with low tolerance are more susceptible. However, even though they’re unpleasant, they’re temporary and aren’t dangerous. The most common negative side effects are heightened anxiety and paranoia, cottonmouth, and increased heartbeat.

If you find yourself experiencing said side effects, the first thing you should do is remind yourself that they’re temporary, and try to calm down. Sipping water and eating something flavorful can help ground you. Distractions like watching a TV show can also help. Chewing peppercorns is another alternative because they contain an ingredient that also fights the intensity of THC. You can also take CBD oil, if you have it on hand, because it helps to abate the effects of THC.

Final Thoughts – The Lowest Dose That Works for You Is the Best Dose

Smoking weed may be a great social activity, but it’s also a highly individual experience. Everyone is different and will react to weed differently, but there are certain factors that can guide you in terms of dosage. One rule of thumb is to always stick to the lowest effective dose, at least until you want to increase it. It all boils down to slowly experimenting and learning about what feels best for you in order to avoid unpleasant experiences and ensure you get the best out of getting high. 

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.


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