Finding Your Cannabis Serving Size & Tolerance Level

This is a quick guide in finding how much THC or CBD is right for you.


When we begin our venture into the realm of cannabis consumption, it might feel a bit overwhelming. There are several aspects of the plant that should be taken into consideration when finding the right strain or edible for our needs or experience we'd like to have. We'll explore these questions:

  1. How should I consume it - what are the methods?
  2. Which strain do I purchase - what are their differences?
  3. How much should I purchase?
  4. How much should I smoke?
  5. How much should I eat?
  6. What percent of THC and CBD is a lot? A little?
  7. How do I know when I've had too much?

1. How Can I Consume Cannabis?

The best method for anyone new in this adventure, is to smoke it. You can buy a vaporizer to vape cannabis instead, but vape pens can be hefty in cost for a good one - and this could possibly be a one-time instance for you. Instead, grab a cheap pipe when purchasing your cannabis so you either toss it after your vacation to a legalized state or keep it for memories.

There are other ways of ingesting cannabis, and the following article can help you out:

Learn More: Smoke, Vape, Eat, Drink, Dab, or Drop?

2. Which Strain Do I Purchase?

First, ask yourself why you are buying cannabis. It could be to try a new experience, like the great majority of cannabis consumers. Or, you may want to see if it helps with an ailment as more evidence surfaces about the plant's link in improving health.

Learn More: 8 Ways Weed Can Improve Fitness & Health

There are three types of cannabis flower you can purchase. Sativa strains, indica strains, and hybrid strains. When I say strain I mean the actual plant, not a concentrate. Oils, edibles, and other concentrated versions of the plant incorporate combining excess shake from various strains and harvests, creating one big batch of shatter, wax, budder, or the ingredients needed to create edibles.

Buying the flower of cannabis; a strain to smoke, you know all of its chemical ratios are natural, not combined with other strains. Knowing these ratios helps us in discovering our own tolerance levels and dose we should be taking.

Ask yourself if you want energy, or to be relaxed? If you prefer a psychotropic experience or a bodily high?

Here are the major differences between sativa and indica strains:

The Hytiva info graphic front explains the differences between cannabis strain types, Indica and Sativa and their effects..

Here are the differences between the three differing hybrids you can find:

The Hytiva info graphic back explains what a Hybrid strain is and it's effects..

3. How Much Should I Purchase?

Weed is light - it's a dried plant, so a little goes a long way. One gram can fill the bowl of a pipe about 3-5 times depending on the size of the bowl. It can fill one joint. The real question is, how many times do you plan to smoke? Usually a gram is great for someone that isn't sharing - for one or two days. A gram is the smallest amount you can buy at a dispensary, and perfect for anyone trying a little for the first time.

  • After a gram is an "eighth" (referring to 1/8 an ounce) which is 3.5 grams.
  • After an eighth is a "quarter" which = 2 eighths or 7 grams.
  • After a quarter is a "half" which = 2 quarters or 4 eighths or 14 grams.
  • After a half is an ounce which = 4 quarters or 8 eighths or 28 grams.

4. How Much Should I smoke?

First, take a look at your strain's THC and CBD levels. When purchased from a dispensary, those percentages should be on the package. Your average strain will have between 14-21% THC. CBD isn't as prominent as THC, so anything displaying more than .02% is good.

The more THC you have, the more likely it's adverse side-effects might kick in if you're not a veteran smoker. However, CBD tends to counteract adverse effects brought on by THC - balancing or maintaining better homeostasis and keeping one's mind at ease.

Don't worry too much about the percentages the first few times. Chances are, you'll buy a strain that sounds good or smells nice without giving them much thought anyway. Just start your adventure slowly. It begins with a single puff. If you're smoking or vaping, fill your pipe's bowl or a vape pen and take one hit, filling half your lungs with smoke/vapor then inhaling clean air until they're full. Wait up to 15-20 minutes before surveying your high or stone. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does my body feel like?
  • What thoughts are popping up in my mind?
  • Do I feel more energized, the same, or slightly couch-locked?

If you find you aren't experiencing much difference in any of these realms, it's time to take one more puff of your ganja. If positive feelings arise such as a tingling sensation throughout your body, or creative ideas surface, or you feel energized/relaxed in a good way, then you're good for now until the sensations begin to fade. Then you'll be ready for another hit.

If you are experiencing paranoia or anxiety, you perhaps inhaled too much to begin, or the percentages of THC to CBD are imbalanced for your system. Next time, try a bit less or a different strain altogether. Because of cannabis's differing effects on people based on their body chemistry, it's a process of elimination and discovery.

5) How Much Should I Eat?

Generally, one "dose" of cannabis in an edible is 10 milligrams. You might find a candy bar that says it contains 100 milligrams, and can split into 10 pieces. Only eat one of those pieces to start. The same goes with any other edible. Calculate how much you need to eat in order to consume 10 milligrams of THC and wait 45 minutes after eating it. Survey your body and your mind, note how you feel. Sometimes, edibles can take up to two hours to be fully felt, so be careful not to eat another 10 milligrams to quickly.

6. What Percent of THC & CBD is a Lot? A Little?

Always keep in mind tolerance levels differ for everyone based on body chemistry and experience. However, with these two factors aside, THC levels are considered high when around 23-25% and above. A strain has just a little THC when below 15%, making between 15-22% the norm.

CBD isn't as concentrated in cannabis as THC, so finding anything above .02% CBD is a good thing. There are strains out there that carry high percentages of CBD (as high as THC can be) and these are generally used for medical purposes.

7. How Do I Know I've Had Too Much?

Unfortunately, too much leads to adverse side-effects such as paranoia, anxiety, and sometimes headache. You'll know you've had too much when you begin to feel uncomfortable. Just keep in mind no one has ever overdosed on cannabis, and get to a relaxed environment where you don't have to think or interact too much.

Another sign you've had too much is sudden couch-lock that prevents you from wanting to do anything, ultimately causing you to fall asleep or zone-out completely. Just remember the dose you took, and take less next time.

Learn More: 10 Undesirable Side-Effects of Cannabis + Remedies