Marijuana edibles

Marijuana edibles: A beginner's guide to dosage and effects.

  • By - Sonny Roman
  • 21 June, 2024


Marijuana edibles have become increasingly popular as states and countries around the world continue to legalize cannabis. For beginners, understanding the dosages and effects of edibles can be daunting. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about marijuana edibles, from selecting the right dosage to understanding their effects.

What Are Marijuana Edibles?

Marijuana edibles are food products infused with cannabis. These can range from brownies and cookies to gummies and beverages. Edibles are an alternative to smoking and offer a different experience due to how the body processes the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Read more about what marijuana edibles are.

Marijuana edibles

How Do Edibles Work?

When you consume marijuana edibles, the THC is metabolized by the liver, which then converts it into 11-hydroxy-THC, a compound that is more potent and has a longer duration of action than THC inhaled via smoking. This process results in a different type of high that can be more intense and last longer than smoking or vaping cannabis. Read more on how marijuana edibles work.

Choosing the Right Dosage

Start Low and Go Slow

One of the golden rules for consuming edibles is to "start low and go slow." Beginners should start with a low dose to see how their bodies react. Typically, a dose between 2.5 to 5 milligrams of THC is recommended for beginners. It's important to wait at least 1-2 hours before consuming more, as the effects take time to kick in.

Understanding Dosage Levels

  • Microdose (1-2.5 mg THC): Provides mild relief of symptoms like stress, anxiety, and pain with minimal psychoactive effects. Suitable for beginners and those looking for subtle effects.
  • Low Dose (2.5-15 mg THC): Suitable for balanced effects providing stronger relief of symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Ideal for people with some tolerance to THC.
  • Moderate Dose (15-30 mg THC): Stronger euphoria, and altered perception. Best for experienced users and those with difficulty managing pain, insomnia, or other chronic conditions.
  • High Dose (30-50 mg THC): Significant euphoria and cognitive impairment. Only recommended for those with significant tolerance to THC and serious medical conditions.
  • Very High Dose (50-100 mg THC): Profound effects, often marked by vivid distortions in perceptions and significant impairment. Generally recommended only for seasoned users with a very high tolerance.

Calculating Homemade Edible Dosages

When making edibles at home, calculating the dosage can be tricky. You'll need to know the THC content of the cannabis you're using and how much you’re incorporating into the recipe. There are online calculators to help with this process. Learn more at this guide to calculating homemade edibles dosage.

Marijuana edibles

Effects of Marijuana Edibles

Onset Time

Unlike smoking or vaping, which provides almost instantaneous effects, edibles take longer to kick in. It typically takes between 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects. This delay is because the edibles need to be digested and metabolized by the liver. In some cases, it may take even longer than two hours.


The effects of edibles also last much longer than inhaled cannabis. While smoking or vaping may last for 2-3 hours, the effects of edibles can last anywhere from 4 to 12 hours, depending on the dose and individual metabolism. 


The high from edibles is often described as more intense compared to smoking or vaping. It's crucial to respect the potency of edibles, especially for beginners. The high can include full-body euphoria, altered perceptions, and sometimes overwhelming sensations.

Different Strains, Different Effects

The type of cannabis used (Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid) can also influence the effects. Sativa strains are known for their uplifting and energetic effects, while Indica strains typically offer relaxation and sedation. Hybrids can provide a mix of these effects. Dive deeper into the effects of different cannabis strains.

Marijuana edibles

Potential Side Effects

Common Side Effects

While many find the effects of edibles enjoyable and beneficial, they can also cause some side effects. Common side effects include dry mouth, dry eyes, and drowsiness. You might also experience increased appetite. Ensure you stay hydrated and have snacks available.


Overconsumption can lead to more severe side effects, including paranoia, anxiety, dizziness, and nausea. It’s crucial to stick to recommended dosages to avoid these unpleasant side effects. Should you accidentally consume too much, find a safe, comfortable place to rest and wait for the effects to subside.

Legal Considerations

Always be aware of the legal status of marijuana edibles in your area. In some places, they are legal for both recreational and medical use, while in others, they may be illegal or only available for medical use. See this map of marijuana legality by state for more information.

Marijuana edibles

Buying Edibles

Choosing a Product

When purchasing edibles, always choose products from reputable producers to ensure quality and consistency. Look for products that clearly label the THC and CBD content. This will help you manage your dosage and understand the potential effects.

Reading Labels

Reading and understanding labels is crucial for edible safety. Look for information on dosage per serving, total THC content, and serving sizes. Some edibles may be split into multiple servings, so it’s important to know how much you’re consuming. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I consume too much?

If you accidentally consume too much, find a safe place to relax. Drink plenty of water, and consider eating something. Stay calm and wait for the effects to pass; this can take a few hours. 

Can I travel with marijuana edibles?

The ability to travel with marijuana edibles depends on local laws. Typically, traveling with cannabis is prohibited across state lines and international borders. Always check the regulations before attempting to travel with them.

How should I store edibles?

Edibles should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from light. Refrigeration can help prolong their shelf life. Most importantly, store them securely away from children and pets.

Is it safe to mix edibles with alcohol?

Mixing edibles and alcohol is not recommended for beginners. Both substances can intensify each other's effects, which can lead to unpleasant experiences such as dizziness, nausea, and impaired judgment. 

How can I tell if edibles are working?

Patience is key. It may take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects of edibles. The onset can be influenced by factors such as your metabolism, the type of food you've consumed, and your tolerance level.

Do marijuana edibles expire?

Yes, marijuana edibles do expire. They can lose their potency over time, and the ingredients can spoil just like any other food product. Always check expiration dates and store them properly to extend their shelf life.


Marijuana edibles offer a unique and enjoyable way to experience the effects of cannabis. For beginners, understanding dosages and effects is key to a safe and pleasant experience. Always start with a low dose, be patient, and respect the potency of edibles. Whether you're using them for recreational or medical purposes, being informed will help you make the most of your edible experience. Happy munching!

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