Most Americans are familiar with the dosing procedures of OTC drugs like Tylenol or Aspirin. This familiarity allows them to self-medicate without speaking to a pharmacist. Few marijuana patients enjoy this security, though many of them may desperately need it.
Dosing is the most important aspect of any medical cannabis program. Whether your intention is to combat a rising tolerance, maintain precise blood levels through micro-dosing, or control a changing pain level throughout the day. Dosing is the variable that holds the key to success.
Accurate dosing is also one of the aspects of cannabis consumption that is the least understood.
As lab-quality cannabis products replace the dubious products of the cannabis fringe markets, the goal of reliable dosing has left the realms of eventual possibility and become something that even a casually educated home consumer can master.
This three step guide will tell you all you need to know to start getting the dose or serving size that you’re looking for, every time.*
PLEASE NOTE: This guide discusses the dosing of activated THC after the flower has been decarboxylated, not raw cannabis flower. In the raw plant, the THC is in its acid form, THCA. It must be properly decarbed to activate and utilize the THC.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to Measure THC Content
1. Use a Lab for Measuring THC Levels
The most accurate way to know the exact chemical compounds present in your plant material is to get it tested at a lab via via High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). This time-intensive process can be done on as little as 0.1g of material, but many labs will require more to be able to get a truly accurate reading. This is the testing procedure used by many cannabis producers, extractors, and manufacturers who must verify the content of their products before they are made available for sale in medical and recreational cannabis legal states.
High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is a method of compound analysis that can identify and quantify the individual elements found within a sample. It is currently the gold standard in all fields which make use of analytical chemistry, including the cannabis industry.
Long term patients may be aware that HPLC replaced Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry as the industry standard in cannabis lab testing. HPLC can identify both volatile and nonvolatile compounds present in a sample.
Among other things, this makes it a more accurate testing method, which is particularly important in an industry where unknown pesticides are regularly discovered. This is the sort of testing procedure available at your local lab. We highly encourage patients to seek out their local labs and get their material tested, particularly if they regularly consume the same strains from the same brands. This will help you determine how consistent their products are.
As always, never buy a cannabis product that does not come with an associated lab test. Most states require cannabis brands to include the lab test for the product right on the packaging. So be sure to look for that at the time of purchase. Ensure the cannabinoid content is consistent with the sale price and packaging. Also, look for purity and potency testing to ensure your product does not include any pesticides or unwanted ingredients.
2. Make an Educated Guess at Your Kief, Extract or Hash Dosage
As we mentioned in #1 above, if you get your cannabis from a dispensary, it will have lab testing results on the label indicating the potency of the flowe, keif or concentrate. Once you have this number, you can skip below to #3 and calculate your dose. But what if you don’t have cannabis that comes with a lab test? You can still get a good range of how much THC is present by using this data: most cannabis flower has a THC level between 10-20%, with the average strain grown under good conditions coming in around 15-17%.
Kief and the related variations of hash tend to have a much greater THC percentage, coming in between 35-55%. Kief itself tends to be on the low end of this spectrum, while refined products like Bubble Hash tend to test towards the top.
Concentrated extracts like shatter, budder, and rosin tend to have even higher THC concentrations between 60-80%, sometimes more. Note that blonder concentrates tend to be stronger than darker concentrates, and more translucent products like sap and rosin are often stronger than more opaque products like budder and wax.
3. How To Calculate Your THC Dosage In Milligrams (Mg)
Once you know your THC %, we can do some simple math to calculate the milligrams (mg) of THC per gram.
Simply move the decimal in the THC percentage one place to the right. The resulting number reflects the milligrams of THC present in one gram of your material.
- If your cannabis has a 20% THC count: 20% = 20.0
- Move the decimal one place to the right: 20.0 = 200
- So in this example, it would be 200 mg THC per gram
What Does This Mean for you?
Many patients who medicate throughout the day do so with a THC dosage of around 20 mg per dose. That said, it will depend on the patient and their tolerance as not all people will be able to start there. The best rule of thumb for medicating with cannabis edibles is to start low and go slow. If you’ve never tried an edible before, 5mg or below is probably a good place to start and work your way up from there. The 20mg dose previously mentioned would normally require a fairly high volume of cannabis if you are using imprecise decarboxylation or you are consuming your cannabis in inefficient ways.
For example, it is estimated that upwards of 70% of available THC is lost in the process of smoking cannabis in joint form.
With fully decarboxylated weed, a 20mg dose can be achieved with one-tenth of a gram of cannabis (assuming the starting material has a THC concentration of 20%). This is a very small amount of material that is easily managed.
This reduction in costs is life-changing for patients who have previously needed to use large amounts to get the same results. With small, effective doses it becomes easy to add cannabis into fun treats and regular meals, without ever having to worry about the overwhelming taste of marijuana.
Weighing to Get Your Decarbed Weed Dosage Right
Once you know the THC content of your material, proper dosing is as simple as weighing out the amount of plant material that contains the amount of THC you desire. Long term cannabis patients who are new to the process of total decarboxylation and using decarbed herb will be stunned to realize how little plant material they can consume with this new potency.
In many states where legal medical cannabis is sold, 100mg THC is the maximum dose size. This amount can be spread across several cookies or candies and therefore can be taken individually based on the consumer and their tolerance.
- It is very common for professionally grown cannabis to reach THC levels of 20%
- Flower with 20% THC levels has a THC concentration of 200mg per gram
- This means that a patient who fully decarboxylates this material can achieve a standard medical dose using only 0.5g of plant material
Think about that. This means that a mere 1/2 gram of decarbed bud can produce about 200mg of THC for edibles. How much is a .5 gram of weed where you live? Most dispensaries, depending on the state and whether or not it is medical or recreational will charge between $10-$25 per gram. This means roughly $10-$25 for a single gram could turn into about 200mg per gram worth of edibles! How much would 200mg of edibles cost where you live? Most states range between $15-$40 for 100mg worth of edibles!
As always, the key to efficient dosing is total decarboxylation of whatever plant material you’ve chosen. For more details on decarboxylation and the role it plays in efficient THC usage, see our blog or contact us directly if you have questions.
We bought a second Ardent Decarboxylator! It works great!
Glad you’re enjoying it – thanks for commenting!
Shanel, nice job explaining a somewhat complicated process! It really is amazing at how little product one needs to achieve the desired effect. Saving my pennies for a NOVA!
Thank you for clarifing this topic. I’m still aweful at math but this helped alot. Thank you.
Decarbed for the first time and wow, where’ve I been? Calibrated the oven, researched the whys w Ardent & Leafly, the Ardent Guide gave me the hows, bought the MagicalButter Decarb box and played with a (stored well) older harvest Train Wreck and holy crap, what a difference! I’m also LOVING the whole Molecular Weight Tweaking and playing Scientist! (Seen 0877 forever, now I totally get it)! Thanks! Trying some of your Ardent Guide post Decarb recipes next!
I ❤️ your mini teach-in’s!
I have been using the NOVA to decarb flowers since it first came out, and have been able to enjoy a precise amount for my use each time by the method you describe. It’s the best way to enjoy my meds.
Thanks for this very informative piece. It cleared up many questions for me.
While I probably won’t send samples to a lab, I will use your very helpful estimates.
I usually employ a mix of “the bottom of the glass jar” materials and and generally know what the THC analysis is of the products I purchased. So, even though it’s a mix of varieties and, decarboxylated with your device…I’m a getting good eye for the measurements I should use.
I am grinding it, after decarboxylation, to the consistency of talc in a small food processor, then I add butter in the ratio of strength I want and mix it thoroughly. For baking and sautees it’s the best. Very handy. The butter protects the product from oxidation in the refrigerator or freezer and it loses no potency over time. It is best kept in a light proof tight sealing glass jar and seems to get stronger as the butter fat extracts more THC into the butter. It is invisable in any recipe
Love your device and appreciate the potency boost the process gives the product. Support, like your article, goes a long way towards customer loyalty
I am extremely pleased with my decarboxylating with your fine machine. I can now enjoy all the benefits of
Cannabis for my chronic pain (scoliosis and arthritis) without smoking or vaping. (My lungs thank you). I can
weigh and eat it with my breakfast or lunch take it with my daily vitamins (I call vitamin C ).
Get one, you’ll love it too. thanks Ardent.
My life has changed since trying Ardent NOVA. I am truly elated with the performance of this product. Thank God for Shanel’s experiences, determination and caring enough to spread the necessity of transforming health and wellness at an affordable price for everyone.
How long does it take to get my Ardent? Just ordered this week.
It takes 2-3 weeks for shipping and handling of our product in the US.
Hi Shanel and team!
Just thought I’d let you know how great the NOVA is! I have had one for almost two years now and swear by its efficacy! Just vaping or smoking the decarboxylated cannabis is so much more potent after a pass in your miraculous machine! I haven’t tried sublingual dosing yet, but intend to do so very soon. Thanks again for making such a break-through product!
IMO even lab tests are not going to be 100% from bud to bud. How about testing a bud that isn’t fully mature that’s growing lower on the plant Vs a huge mature cola bud from the top? I am sure (IMO) that these two different buds will test at different levels of THC. I don’t think there is any way to be fully 100% accurate unless you take all the buds being used at a particular time, grindi them down to even consistancy mixing all the buds up evenly then taking a sample of that to get lab tested. This (IMO) is probably the only way to make anything that’s going to be 100%. Just my opinion.
Hi my name is Thomas I just purchased one of your machines I have Crohn’s and I want to make capsules my Crohn’s is in my small intestines I bought acid-free capsules my question is I want to use strains with high CBD levels could you explain what I need to do I think you said you have to run it through twice for instance one of the flower I want to use is AC/DC that doesn’t not have much THC then another flower that I want to use is I sent Teaver it’s a one to one pink lemonade and then in the evening I want to use an Indica critical care THC is at 7 mg and CBD is 12 can I just run these lunch or do I need to run twice to get the value out of the CBD could you let me know what I need to do and also I noticed you had these cool little glass jars with a stranger as well for infusing oil‘s can you tell me where I can get them the problem is I can’t smoke flower anymore because the alterations in the stomach lining get so bad with the smoking so now we need to bypass the stomach and get our cannabis infused CBD tablets into the small intestine I also use a lot of topicals and my stomach and I wanted to start making them so if you could assist me with either With some advice I would appreciate it also if you know where I may be or able to order some of your books or guidelines how to mix and do some of the cool stuff that you’re doing thank you so much my phone number is 630-674-8667 I live in Addison Illinois
The results if you decarb twice depend on the starting material of your flower!
If the flower is CBD, the following information will help:
All of our most current research about CBD so far can be found at
The determining factor in CBDa decarb is actually whether THCa is also present. Where THCa is present, even where CBDa is dominant, CBDa and THCa will decarb simultaneously and at the precision temps that work for conversion to THC. It is only where THCa is minimal or not present that CBDa may require longer (2 cycle) processing.
If the flower is mostly THC, the following information should help:
We find that some of our customers that are used to smoking or using ovens become quite accustomed to CBN rather then THC and notice the difference when this cannabinoid is less or not at all present.
To achieve similar levels of CBN as smoking or the over heating of an oven would you would simply need to over-decarb your product on purpose. To do this you would run the flower through one cycle with the unit – let the unit fully cool – and then run another cycle again.
The general idea is the more you overheat the higher levels of CBN and lower levels of THC you will achieve. We look forward to having more information on the exact levels at which the CBN rising and THC falls.
Hope this helps and feel free to reach out with any further questions.
I just want to say thank you Shanel. I think you are a modern day Thomas Edison. The results anybody can achieve with your life changing device are unbelievable ! I have tried everything you show in your informative videos, and everything came out perfect.
Bought this used 1/2 oz flower. When done and NOVAed top there was much condensation, Flower was damp. What happened. Didn’t seem normal or is it. Project had no real impact very weak
Depending of the moisture content of the flower, you may see some condensation when the cycle completes. But don’t fear, it has been decarbed and you are set to go!
Please be aware that if you don’t dry the fresh flower prior to decarb it will come out wet. It can still be used in edibles and topicals but can’t be smoked. If you would rather your flower not be wet after the decarb make sure to dry it at least for a little bit, preferably at least a day or so. (I recommend trying it first with a very small amount so you can make sure you like this new-to-you texture 🙂
i decarbed a .4 of kief using my NOVA ant suggestions on what to do with it
There are so many options for what you can do with your activated Kief! Learn about some of my favorites here:
I’m new to Cannabis medication. I have the NOVA and am so glad I don’t ever have to worry or decarbox the old ways.
My question is what do I do with the Cannabis after I’ve infused and strained it for my tincture?
Do I throw it away, can it be smoked???
In our lab tests, the remaining plant matter left behind, after an infusion, carried some minimal cannabinoids! The leftover plant material is called the raffinate and you can learn more about it and our lab tests here:
I love this product. has helped me out tremendously . There is hardly any smell. Great for when I make spaghetti after it’s decarbed I just put a little in there on my plate. Before the sleeve which I’m planning on getting. I just used to mix summit of some cookies or brownies mix it came out great. Can’t wait to get the sleeve!!!
I got my ARDENT for my 50th Birthday in July. I am on medical. I use it like no tomorrow. I bake my goods now & am loving the fact I can infuse my oil now. Best thing I Ever bought in my life that is such a Benefit to myself and my body & health. Thank you so much. Love my Ardent. Looking forward to more recipes and ideas.
Happy New YEAR’S from Florida
I got some food grade Cocoa butter and infused that and made some nice cannabis chocolate. I used the same process as the oil infusion, but used cocoa butter. Double boiler mixed with some good 65% cacao dark
chocolate bar, poured into a mold from craft store. Let it cool and you have some sweet cannabis treats.
Thanks Ardent for making this available.
I am a mother and this helped me!
Love my machine I have made several recipes and I have saved myself hundreds of dollars using the companies recommendations on edibles..thank you thank you. Best part no smell in my house..love it
Great post. Informative
Thank you, Thank You, etc. I’ve had a difficult time finding dosages, how and why things work all in one easy to read document.
Keep up the good work.
Good info need to know how many grams of keif needed to make 200 jolly ranchers
In order to answer this accurately, we would need to know the potency of your kief, and how strong you would like to make each jolly rancher.
This mighty little machine is the best investment I have ever made! What the NOVA can do is absolutely magical. Thank you so much for creating such an amazing device 💚🖤💚
I’m not too much of a internet reader in all honesty however, your sites very nice, make it up! I’ll just bookmark your website to come back later on. Cheers
Hi there, just became alert to your site through Google, and discovered that it really is really informative. I am just gonna be cautious about brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Numerous men and women be took advantage of your writing. Cheers!
It’s difficult to find experienced people on this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
I just purchased the Ardent FX and can’t wait to try it. I’m wondering if I need the silicone sleeve as well? I will be making my own edibles and oils (so I can stop spending all my money on inconsistent products!) specifically interested in trying to make gummys and/or capsules. I appreciate your videos and guides as well!
Hi there, thanks for reaching out! You can use the infusion sleeve with the FX but you don’t need to because it is a stainless interior.
Also, we will be coming out with more accessories for the FX this year!
up to 70% thc lost when blazing it in reefers …. Yikes!
I am in Scotland – a country still in regression mode when it comes to the herb!
USA leading the way 👍
Decarb Myths Debunked
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