If you’ve ever tried smoking in a social setting—say, out at a party with friends—you probably didn’t put a ton of thought into finding the right cannabis dosage. In that kind of a situation, “the right dose” might have been “till I’m super high!”
But now that you’re a bit older and a tiny bit wiser about cannabis, perhaps it’s time to circle back and tackle an important but often-ignored question: What’s the right cannabis dosage for me?
As you may suspect, the answer depends on many factors, such as your gender, your cannabis history, and your desired outcome. Let’s start with the big questions first and see if we can narrow the answer down from there.
Men and Women: Same Marijuana, Different Effects
However much we might want to believe that under our skin we’re really all the same, the truth is that physiologically speaking, men and women and different on multiple levels. Given the emerging understanding that even our individual cells are “male” or “female,” it should come as no surprise that many drugs—including cannabis—affect men and women differently.
As the authors of a 2010 study noted, some cannabinoids “…have been shown to exert sex-dependent effects also in other physiological and behavioral aspects, such as food intake and energy balance (more evident in males), or anxiety and depression (more evident in females).”
Broadly speaking, when men consume cannabis, they’re more likely to:
- Use higher amounts of cannabis than women.
- Use cannabis more frequently.
- Be more susceptible to the “munchies,” or the tendency to crave foods after imbibing.
- Experience lower sexual desire shortly after consumption.
- Possibly experience psychosis after using cannabis.This is the subject of quite a bit of debate; some researchers believe rare cases of cannabis-induced psychosis have underlying genetic factors.
On the flip side, when women consume cannabis, they’re more likely to:
- Experience anxiety and dizziness after cannabis than men.
- Become more forgetful than men after consuming cannabis.
- Experience heightened sexual desire, more commonly after taking low doses of cannabis; after larger doses, sexual desire may decrease.
- Effectively combat chronic pain more than men.
- Be particularly sensitive to cannabis when they’re ovulating.
- Become tolerant to THC (the active compound in marijuana that gets you “high”) more quickly than men. This may lead them to use greater quantities in order to achieve the same effect.
- Experience stronger withdrawal symptoms from cannabis. They may include irritability, decreased appetite, and insomnia, though these symptoms generally do not persist for long
A History of Tolerance
Another factor that influences cannabis dosage is the frequency of use. Humans build up a tolerance to cannabis fairly quickly, often within a week of use. The reason is that the body reacts to cannabis by makes fewer cannabinoid receptors available, a process called downregulation.
Fortunately for those who benefit from regular cannabis use, our tolerance diminishes quite rapidly once we’ve taken a break from consuming. A 2016 study using PET scans showed that tolerance began to diminish within two days of stopping use, decreasing further over the course of a month and possibly beyond. What this means for you is that taking “cannaholidays” for a few days every couple of weeks is good policy for keeping your tolerance low and your mind and body refreshed.
Cannabis Dosage: A Matter of Taste
At the end of the day, the amount of cannabis you consume is dependent on your desired goals. Are you using a high-CBD strain to relieve inflammation and keep a light, energetic buzz? Or are you looking for the full-body relaxation (some call it “couch lock”) of a heavy-hitting, high-THC strain?
Whatever your preference and your goals, the one bit of advice we’ll leave you with is: Start low, go slow. Sometimes, just a wee little bit of cannabis can give you more of the positive effects you’re looking for than a giant dose can.
And remember, our qualified budtenders are always ready to help you find the right strain for your desired cannabis experience. Stop by and talk to one of them today!