Most Americans are familiar with the dosing procedures of a pain killer like Tylenol or Aspirin. This familiarity allows them to self-medicate without speaking to a pharmacists. Few marijuana patients enjoy this security, though many of them desperately need it.
Dosing is the most important aspect of any cannabis treatment 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 user can master.
This three step guide will tell you all you need to know to start getting the dose 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. Learn more about decarboxylation here.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to Measure THC Content in 3 Ways
1. Use a Lab for Measuring THC Levels
The most accurate ways to know the 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 of 0,1g of material of material. 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.
High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is a method of compound analysis which 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 marijuana 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 cannabis.
2. Take THC Measurements at Home Using MyDx
There are various kits on the market which purport to produce reliable THC test results at home. We recommend MyDx.
MyDx has many consumers and producers who swear by their results. Keep in mind that these tests do not meet the legal standard in most states if you are producing products for sale. We encourage patients to do their research and ensure that any lab they work with is using the most up-to-date testing procedures available.
3. Make an Educated Guess at Your Kief, Extract or Hash Dosage
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 tends 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%. 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.
Calculating Your THC Dosage in 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 place one place to the right
- 20.0 = 200
- 200 mg THC per gram
What does this mean for you?
Many patients who medicate throughout the day do so with a THC dosage around 20 mg per dose. This dose 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 which 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 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 is often spread across several cookies or candies. Because the Nova provides complete decarboxylation, there is no need for so much volume, even in baked goods.
- 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
As always, the key to efficient dosing is total decarboxylation of whatever plant material you’ve chosen. Click here for more details on decarboxylation and the role it plays in efficient THC usage, or contact us directly if you have questions.