Cannabis is a plant that contains hundreds of chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which interact with our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex network of receptors and molecules that regulate various functions such as mood, pain, appetite, memory, sleep, and immune response. The two most well-known cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), which have different effects on the ECS and the brain.
THC is the main psychoactive component of cannabis, which means it can alter your perception, cognition, emotions, and behavior. THC binds to CB1 receptors in the brain and activates them, causing euphoria, relaxation, creativity, hunger, and sometimes paranoia or anxiety. CBD is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, which means it does not make you high. CBD binds to CB2 receptors in the body and modulates them, causing anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, and neuroprotective effects.
However, not everyone experiences cannabis in the same way. There are many factors that can influence how cannabis affects you individually. Some of these factors include:
- Genetics: Your genes can determine how your body metabolizes cannabinoids and how sensitive you are to their effects. For example, some people have a genetic variation that makes them produce more or less of an enzyme called CYP2C9 that breaks down THC in the liver. This can affect how quickly THC gets eliminated from your system and how long it stays in your blood. Some people also have a genetic variation that affects how many CB1 receptors they have in their brain or how easily they get activated by THC. This can affect how strongly they feel the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
- Tolerance: Your tolerance to cannabis depends on how often and how much you use it. The more you use cannabis regularly (especially high-THC products), the more your body adapts to its effects by reducing the number or sensitivity of CB1 receptors in your brain. This means you need higher doses or more potent products to achieve the same level of intoxication as before. Conversely, suppose you stop using cannabis for a while (especially low-THC products). In that case, your body restores its normal sensitivity to cannabinoids by increasing the number or sensitivity of CB1 receptors in your brain. This means you may feel more intense effects from lower doses or less potent products than before.
- Environment: Your environment can also influence how you react to cannabis by affecting your mood, expectations, and social context. For example, if
If you use cannabis in a safe, comfortable, and familiar setting, you may feel more relaxed, happy, and sociable. If you use cannabis in a stressful, uncomfortable, or unfamiliar setting, you may feel more anxious, paranoid, or isolated. Your expectations about what cannabis will do for you can also shape your experience by creating a placebo effect or a nocebo effect.
A placebo effect occurs when you believe something will have a positive outcome for you and it does (even if it has no real effect).
A nocebo effect occurs when you believe something will have a negative outcome for you, and it does (even if it has no real effect). Your social context can also affect how you perceive and enjoy cannabis by influencing peer pressure, conformity, and communication. For example, if you use cannabis with friends with similar preferences, attitudes, and experiences with cannabis, you may feel more comfortable,
confident, and connected. If you use cannabis with strangers with different preferences, attitudes, and experiences with cannabis, you may feel more awkward, insecure, and isolated.
There is no universal THC dosage that works for everyone. Your optimal THC dosage depends on various factors such as:
- Your body weight
- Your metabolism
- Your tolerance level
- The type of cannabis product you use (e.g., flower, oil, edibles)
- The potency of the product (e.g., how much THC it contains per gram or milligram)
- The method of consumption (e.g., smoking, vaping, eating)
- The onset time and duration of effects (e.g., how long it takes to feel the effects and how long they last)
As a general rule of thumb, start low and go slow. This means you should start with a low dose of THC (e.g., 1 – 2.5 mg) and wait at least an hour before taking more. This will allow you to gauge how you react to THC and adjust your dosage accordingly.
Some common dosage ranges for different levels of effects are :
- Microdose: 1 – 2.5 mg THC
- Effects: Mild relief of symptoms like pain, stress and anxiety; increased focus and creativity; minimal intoxication
- Who it's for: First-time users or experienced users who want to microdose for medical or wellness purposes
- Low dose: 2.5 – 10 mg THC
- Effects: Moderate relief of symptoms; enhanced mood; mild euphoria; some impairment
- Who it's for: Occasional users or users who want to enjoy recreational benefits without getting too high
- Moderate dose: 10 – 15 mg THC
- Effects: Effective relief of symptoms; impaired coordination; altered perception; strong euphoria
- Who it's for: High-tolerance users (both recreational and medical) or users who want to experience more intense effects
- High dose: More than 15 mg THC
- Effects: Potentially unpleasant side effects such as anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks; extreme impairment; hallucinations; dissociation
- Who it's for: Very high-tolerance users or users who seek a very strong psychoactive experience
Please note that these ranges are only estimates and may vary depending on individual factors. Always read the label carefully and follow the instructions on how to use your cannabis product safely.