THC is often treated like it’s always beneficial no matter how you use it even though we all know that’s not true. Every cannabis user has been too stoned at one time or another, and we’ve all had to find balance with THC’s inherently habit-encouraging properties.

Used in the right way at the right time, however, THC can be powerfully soothing, illuminatingly mind-altering, or just plain fun. If you want to make sure you always consume the right dosage of THC for your set, setting, and overall path in life, use this guide as your touchstone.

What does THC do?

Scientists have historically had a hard time classifying THC, alternatively calling it a hallucinogen, a narcotic, or — nowadays — a “plant-based medicine.” The truth is, THC defies all classification, in some capacities acting as a hallucinogen but in others providing powerful analgesia or relief from stress.

Compounding upon THC’s inherently elusive qualities are the effects provided by individual cannabis strains. Every cultivar of cannabis has its own unique medley of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the quality of the effects THC provides is dependent on the balance of the other compounds that come alongside it in cannabis flower.

In short, THC will intoxicate you like a conventional narcotic, but it might also bend your mind, provide you with energy, or even put you to sleep. To get a full grasp of what THC can do, you’ll need to compare a wide variety of cannabis strains.

THC mg dosage chart

Here’s a basic chart of the experiences you can expect to have based on the dose of THC you consume. See below for a more detailed diagram.

  • 1-3mg: Very mild effects, some pain relief, low intoxication. Good for beginners.
  • 3-15mg: Moderate psychoactive effects, considerable pain relief. Ideal dose for pain maintenance.
  • 15-30mg: Strong intoxication, perception impairment. Only recommended for experienced users.
  • 30-50mg: Powerfully mind-altering experience. Generally not appropriate for daily use.
  • 50-100mg: Potentially reality-shattering effects. Only for high-tolerance habitual users.

Best Dosage For THC

How much THC should I use?

The amount of THC you should use depends entirely on when you use it and why you’re using it. Other factors to take into consideration are your experience with cannabis, your THC tolerance, and the type of product you’re using. Below, we’ll provide detailed THC dosing instructions that take all of these variables into account:

Best dosage for sleep

If you’re using THC to get to sleep at night, you might want to ingest as much as 50mg per dose. Also, when it comes to staying asleep, you’ll want to use edibles, which provide effects that last much longer than smoking THC.

Before bed, an average cannabis user might smoke 20mg or so of THC in the form of a joint before ingesting an additional 10-20mg of edible THC. New or casual users, however, can get away with as little as 5mg THC (smoked or eaten) as an occasional sleep aid.

Best dosage for after work

When it’s time to de-stress after work, you’ll want to use enough THC to have a noticeable effect without getting so blitzed you’re unable to focus on your family or other domestic concerns. As a result, a dose of 10-30mg THC is normal for right after you get home from work in the evening. You might want to enjoy a second dose of that size an hour or so later to keep your buzz going until bedtime.

Best dosage for partying

When it’s time to party, you’re ready to let loose, and intoxication is exactly what you have in mind. As a result, it wouldn’t be unusual for habitual users to consume as much as 100mg THC at a time in a party setting — though they should be careful when sharing with others.

To be honest, though, 100mg should always be too much for anyone. The most THC you could ever conceivably need to use is 50mg, and the majority of casual partygoers will be satisfied with a mere 10-20mg.

Best for beginners

If this is your first time using THC or you’ve only gotten high once or twice, you’ll need to be extra careful with your dosing. Habitual THC users often make it look like using 20-30mg THC at a time has only very limited effects, but for new users, this amount of THC will be mind-blowing — and not necessarily in a good way.

New THC users should stick to a maximum of 10mg THC per dose with 5mg being ideal. Five milligrams of THC should be plenty to experience the full effects of this cannabinoid if you haven’t built up any tolerance.

Best for experienced users

Experienced users should still keep their THC doses as small as possible, but they might need to overcome the inevitable obstacle of THC tolerance. The more THC you use, the more of it you need to use to achieve the same state unless you give your body enough time to properly process out any THC it may still contain.

Even the most experienced cannabis users should limit their THC to 20mg per dose at maximum. Ideally, habitual THC users will land on a daily “maintenance dose” of around 5-20mg THC every 2-3 hours with a total dose at the end of the day between 50-150mg.

Edible dosage vs. flower dosage

The cannabis concentrate edibles contain is considerably more potent than cannabis flower, but the dosage you should use remains roughly the same across both product types. Even though THC edibles and THC flower interact with your system very differently, you should use each in roughly 10mg doses.

Flower affects you very quickly and potently, but its effects wear off before too long. Orally ingesting THC is nowhere near as bioavailable, but the effects of THC edibles last longer and are often perceived to be more potent. A 10mg THC edible will make you feel high for longer than a 10mg THC flower session, but for both product types, 10mg provides ideal effects.

To dose flower properly, take a look at its THC percentage. A gram of cannabis containing 10% THC contains 100mg THC overall, but a 20% THC gram contains double that amount. One hit of a certain strain might provide you with a perfect dose. With weaker cultivars, however, you might need to double-toke to hit 10mg.

Edible dosage vs. vape dosage

Edibles and vapes are very different breeds. Depending on the type of concentrate you vape and how you vaporize it, a single inhalation of THC vapor might contain anywhere between 50mg and 500mg THC.

It’s just as possible, though, to take vape hits that only contain 5-10mg THC. You don’t need to use more THC just because you’re vaping it, and overall, the differences between vaping and eating THC are about the same as the differences between eating it and smoking it. Whether you’re vaping or taking an edible, 10-20mg is the dose you should aim for in most situations.

The bottom line: Start low, and go slow

There’s a common misconception that THC becomes more potent the more of it you use and the more often you use it. Largely popularized by pop culture icons who claim to be “so high” after taking more than 100mg THC per dose multiple times per day, even newbies sometimes fall into the trap of using more THC than is beneficial or even effective.

In the end, a stable relationship with THC involves setting some boundaries. Occasional indulging is fine, but you shouldn’t exceed the small daily dose of THC you set for yourself very often.

If you use too much THC habitually, you’ll stop getting high when you smoke, and you’ll need to smoke just to feel “normal.” By observing proper dosing and otherwise behaving responsibly with THC, you can foster a long-term, beneficial relationship that magnifies all the best parts of this cannabinoid and avoids the worst.

What is the half-life of cannabis?

According to some research, cannabis compounds like THC may have a half-life as long as 67 days in the human body. That’s only in cases of very heavy use, though. Even habitual users will generally have entirely THC-free systems within 30 days, and in casual THC users, the half-life of this compound usually runs between five and 13 days.

Why are most edibles 5mg or 10mg?

The majority of THC edibles on the market contain either 5mg or 10mg THC per dose because that dose range is generally believed to be the most effective for the largest number of people. Intervals of five and 10 are also very easy to combine, allowing edible users to take exactly 10, 20, or even 30 milligrams of THC with total exactitude.

Can you develop a tolerance to THC?

Yes, it is possible to develop a tolerance to THC. That’s why it’s so important to start low with your dosage and give your body plenty of time to process out the THC you use. If you don’t keep a close eye on your tolerance, you may need to go through a full THC detox to experience the complete benefits of this cannabinoid again.