Weed Edibles: First-Timer Guide

Learn what you should know before eating edibles.

Effects of Edibles by Dosage and Tolerance

Desired effect level1 Minimal tolerance Some tolerance (smoke 1-3x/week) Tolerance (daily smoker)
Mild 2-4 mg 3-7 mg 4-10 mg
Medium 3-8 mg 4-12 mg 6-15 mg
Strong 5-15 mg 10-20 mg 15-30 mg

Edibles Dosage Guide

Tolerance THC mg2
Users with no tolerance 1.5 - 5 mg
Users who smoke multiple times per week 2 - 12 mg
Users who regularly eat edibles and have tolerance to edibles 10 - 30 mg
High tolerance to edibles 30 - 60 mg
Very high tolerance to edibles 60 - 100 mg+

Edibles Duration of Effects

Phase Time34
Total 4 - 10 hours
Onset 30 - 120 minutes
Peak 2 - 5 hours
After effects 6 - 12 hours

A graph from a 1980 research paper showing how long you’ll stay high for:

Edible Highness vs Time Graph (How Long Does a High Last)

In this experiment, participants still felt a little bit high after 6 hours, though not close to peak levels.4

1. Weed edibles, particularly high doses, can lead to anxiety

Possible strategies to reduce anxiety from cannabis edibles (anecdotal reports):

  • Take CBD at the same time or beforehand
  • Take L-Theanine

See also this post about cannabis anxiety.

2. It’s really easy to eat too much - you’ll be fine, but it might be uncomfortable

Read the packet. Make sure you know if it’s X mg of THC per serving, and how many “things” are in a serving.

3. Start with 5mg of THC or less.

As a very rough approximation, smoking a 12 gram standard joint by yourself would lead to similar levels of highness as a 10 mg THC edible.

5mg will get most people without a tolerance “solidly high” - perhaps a 7-910.

Even doing 2mg will get people without a tolerance high - at this dosage you may still find it reasonably easy to have conversations with people, and as the dosage goes beyond 5mg conversing will get increasingly difficult for most people.

πŸ‘ If you don’t have experience with altered states of consciousness or are concerned about possible anxiety, try 2mg of THC for your first 3 times, and then try 5mg, before going any higher.

If 5mg isn’t enough, wait 2 hours to make sure it’s taken effect, and then try taking another 5mg. Don’t add on 10mg - you’ll still have much of the 5mg in your system.

If 5mg wasn’t enough, next time start with 7.5mg or 10mg - don’t jump to 20mg. It would be even smarter to try 5mg two more times, as about 40% (anecdotal reports) of weed users find it hard to get high the first few times they use.

4. Don’t redose until you’ve waited 2 hours

If you’re on a full stomach, it may take 1.5 hours before you start feeling pretty high and 2 hours or more for full effects.

It might be more like 1 hour before feeling pretty high and 1.5 hours for full effects on an empty stomach (anecdotal reports).

5. You might not get high the first 1-3 times

We don’t really know exactly why this is, though it seems to be a commonly reported occurrence.

Try a low dosage a few times first before going above 5mg - you might be taking the perfect dose, but you’re just experiencing the “first time user tolerance” effect of weed.

6. If you took too much: Tell a friend to read the “bad trip” guide and help you

Symptoms of a moderate to intense high (doesn’t necessarily mean you took too much):

  • Increased (and more noticable) heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Paranoia / anxiety

No-one has ever died from overdosing on marijuana.5

If you have paranoia/anxiety and want to reduce it, try any of the following:

Remember, the main effect of taking too much is just paranoia. Thousands of people take too much weed each year, they feel really uncomfortable for up to ~12 hours, and then they all feel fine again.

Guide to help someone having a bad trip (including if you’ve eaten too much edible weed).

7. Cautions

  • Perhaps don’t use weed at all, or at least don’t use often if you are under the age of 21 (perhaps even more important if under age of 18). Research is pretty inconclusive, though better to be safe than sorry.
  • Consider avoiding weed if you have psychosis, or schizophrenia, or first-degree relatives with psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia or Bipolar
  • Avoid daily use or high potency cannabis products as some researchers have found that these are associated with an increase in the risk of psychosis6
  • Don’t drive while high
  • If it’s illegal to smoke where you are, be aware that the biggest risk of using weed on your future/your health is the legal risk, so consider waiting until it’s legal or decriminalized where you are


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Have more questions, or want more resources and info? Visit /r/PsychedelicTherapy or /r/Psychedelics.