Edibles present the opportunity for people to explore the medical benefits of marijuana without needing to smoke it. They are a safer method of ingestion as you are not inhaling smoke laced with pollutants like carbon, tar, and other carcinogens.
Medical cannabis users tend to have a lot of questions on how to determine the THC content of a homemade edible. Since THC levels vary widely, this can be quite tricky. Even after baking the batch, you might not be sure how many milligrams of THC are in each serving.
The amount of THC directly relates to potency and the effects you will feel after eating the edible. Every person has a different tolerance, and you need to be sure you are not overdoing it while also getting satisfactory results.
Cannabis plants are not lab-tested, so precise measurements are often difficult to ascertain. However, with the right steps and knowledge, you can get pretty close to estimating THC levels and potency.
Dosing Homemade Edibles
We can start by looking at the formula.
It starts with the average THC percentage. This table reveals THC percentages based on cannabis quality. Some cannabis runs as little as 3 percent THC while higher-quality strains provide 25 percent or more.
For this example, let’s say it is 10 percent THC since the formula is more straightforward with a round number. Divide 10 into 1000 for the per-milligram amount.
- One gram of cannabis = 1,000 milligrams
- 10 percent of 1,000 milligrams = 100 milligrams
So, one gram will have 100 milligrams of THC.
The next step is to divide the THC amount in the recipe by the number of servings. The number will give you the per-serving dose. Let’s say you are making a recipe with 7 grams of cannabis. The amount translates to 700 milligrams of THC. If you are making 24 servings with all 700 milligrams of THC, each serving would have about 29 milligrams.
If doing math is not your favorite pastime, then you can find the THC per serving with this helpful calculator. Use the calculator to determine the THC amount per serving and the number of grams of cannabis to use during baking.
How Much Is Enough?
As mentioned, potency is often a per consumer preference. Newcomers to edibles tend to opt for 10 to 15 milligrams of THC per serving. The potency of the product also helps you determine the number of servings to ingest. It is typically better to start low and work your way up to higher doses and potency as you go.
If you are very new to this method, make sure you test the waters with someone else present, perhaps someone who has tried edibles before, in case you have an adverse reaction.
Tips for Homemade Edibles
Creating the perfect edibles is often the result of trial and error since both determining dosage and finding potency preference is subject to choice.
There are a few dos and don’ts to help this process along though.
- Don’t use too much cannabis. The lipids in oils will bind with only so many cannabinoids. After a point, the extra becomes waste. A 1:1 ratio typically works well.
- Do adjust if the recipe does not produce the right dose per serving. If the recipe is overpowering, add more regular butter or oil. If it is too weak, add THC with an extract or oil.
- Don’t forget to decarboxylate the cannabis before cooking. Raw cannabis will not produce any effects, i.e. it makes the edible ineffective. Not sure what decarboxylate means? Plenty of enthusiasts have their own videos on YouTube and Instagram!
- Do stir the batter vigorously. Stirring ensures the even distribution of cannabutter so that all doses have equal amounts.
- Don’t grind cannabis into powder. Otherwise, it will be too fine to strain. A powdery texture creates an overwhelming, plant-like taste that no one will want. Use a hand grinder instead and grind it coarsely.
- Do test the potency before baking. You want to check before instead of doing so retroactively. Think of that formula in reverse. Add a little oil to food or drink, wait an hour, and see how you feel. If the oil gives the desired effect, you are good to go and have the right potency.
Are There Health Risks?
Some of the health risks associated with edibles come from the lack of regulation in the cannabis industry. You should exercise care when purchasing marijuana. Some dispensaries may sell weak strains, and you should always use a trusted source when buying the plant. When in doubt, ask your prescriber for safe and reputable sources.
Edibles can be a potent and delicious way to consume cannabis. However, it’s essential to understand the varying potencies among different brands and any homemade batches you may produce. When you know the potencies, you increase your likelihood of gaining all the benefits you desire.