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How to Dose Cannabis Capsules

capsules beside cannabis chunks

Cannabis capsules deliver the medicinal properties of cannabis in a concentrated, pre-dosed format.

While each cap is pre-measured for your convenience, determining your ideal dose may require some experimenting.

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Understanding Cannabis Capsules

Cannabis capsules are marijuana in pill form. Encapsulated within a vegetarian or gelatinous shell, they’re available in three formats: decarboxylated flower, crystalline, and cannabis oil extract.

Each plant-based pill is a pre-measured dose that may contain a single cannabinoid or provide the entourage effect of the whole cannabis plant — which includes various nutrients, terpenes, flavonoids, and the full range of cannabinoids, such as:

Cannabis capsules come in various strengths ranging from 2.5mg -10mg of active compounds. They provide a convenient and discreet means of medicating without the harmful side effects of smoking or vaping.

Marijuana pills are also a good option for those with restrictive diets, as marijuana pills are free from added fats, sugars, and empty calories found in many cannabis edibles.

With an onset time of 1-2 hours and effects that last up to 8-12 hours, these potent medicinals deliver long-lasting relief and support of overall wellness.

Basics of Dosing Cannabis Capsules

Just because cannabis capsules are pre-dosed doesn’t mean the suggested serving size is right for you.

Marijuana dosing requires a degree of mindfulness and patience to establish a personalized dose. Below are factors worth considering when determining the correct amount.


Cannabis tolerance refers to your body’s ability to adapt to cannabinoid intake. Frequent or prolonged exposure to active compounds, like THC, can diminish your body’s sensitivity to their effects over time.

Chronic consumers often build a high tolerance to cannabis and require increased doses to generate their desired results. Low tolerance levels are common among new or occasional cannabis consumers who have yet to develop a sensitivity to cannabis.

New users should use extra caution when consuming psychoactive compounds like THC for the first time.

Understanding the Dosage Information on Cannabis Capsule Labels

Whether you’re a new or experienced user, it’s essential to know the contents of your cannabis pill and how these ingredients may impact your health and well-being. The first step to understanding the dosage is informing yourself about the product.

“Reading the label is always going to be an important factor when dosing cannabis pills,” recommends Leafwell’s Pharmacist and Provider Operations Manager, Mark Kasabuski. Knowing vital facts about cannabinoid content and strength is essential when deciding how to dose cannabis pills.

Most cannabis capsule labels list supplement facts that include:

  • The suggested serving size
  • Total active cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBG, etc.) in a pack
  • Total active cannabinoids per capsule
  • Cannabinoid strength and ratio
  • Dosing recommendations
  • Additional ingredients
  • Safety warnings
  • Potential allergens
  • Laboratory test results

With so many different cannabis pills on the market, understanding the product content can help you pick a product that will suit your needs.

The Importance of a ‘Start Low, Go Slow’ Approach

THC pills can provide a range of therapeutic properties, but their psychoactive effects are notoriously intense and unpredictable. To avoid unpleasant side effects associated with overexposure, Kasabuski recommends consumers start low and go slow.

“I recommend first-time users start with a capsule in the 2.5-5 mg range, then wait a full two hours before you consider redosing,” Kasabuski explains. “That way, you can observe the effects of the capsule.”

If the initial dose does not yield your desired results, Kasabuski suggests increasing it by increments of 2.5mg for first-timers and 5mg for more experienced users.  As with any cannabis product, caution is the best way to proceed. “I always recommend starting low, going slow, and observing the results from the smallest effective dose.”

Factors Influencing Cannabis Capsule Dosage

While knowing essential facts about your cannabis product is vital to establishing a beneficial dose, some other elements are equally necessary to consider.

Body Weight and Metabolism

Body weight and metabolism are closely related. Not only do they influence each other, they make a significant impact on how your body processes cannabis.

“Cannabis is fat-soluble,” Kasabusi says. “[the cannabinoids] absorb through some of the fat and get stored in the fat cells in the body.”

Individuals with increased body fat may metabolize cannabis at a slower rate which can delay the onset of effects and extend their duration. On the other hand, those with higher metabolic rates may experience more intense results, with a rapid onset and shorter time.

Potential Interactions With Other Substances

Before mixing cannabis with substances like prescription medication or alcohol, you should know how they may interact with cannabis.

“Prescription medication can have a big influence on cannabis and vice versa. The biggest thing to watch out for is how your medication is metabolized, or processed, by the body.” Kasabuski says.

“The liver does a lot of heavy lifting when metabolizing cannabis. Taking medications heavily metabolized by the liver could alter the effects of both your cannabis and prescription medication.”

While mixing cannabis and alcohol isn’t expressly prohibited, it’s necessary to exercise caution when combining them. Both highly intoxicating substances carry certain risks.

“When taking cannabis with alcohol, you might feel more of that dizziness and lack of coordination,” Kasabuski explains.

Mixing marijuana with alcohol may elevate blood pressure, increase heart rate, cause nausea/vomiting, weaken the cardiovascular system, and impair cognitive functioning. Chronic overuse of these substances can lead to severe issues, including:

  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Increased risk of overdose

To safeguard your health and well-being, he recommends contacting your doctor, pharmacist, or a Leafwell Cannabis Guide to discuss your current medication regimen and any concerns about combining cannabis with medications or other substances.

Calculating Cannabis Capsule Dosage/Determining Your Ideal Cannabis Capsule Dosage

Cannabis capsules allow you to access the healing of marijuana with precision and discretion. Establishing a therapeutic dose that best benefits you may involve trial and error since cannabis consumption is a highly individualized experience.

Guidelines for Establishing Your Initial Dose

If you’re new to cannabis capsules, There are a few key factors to keep in mind before you begin.

  • Understand the cannabinoid content: Check the product label for information about the cannabinoid profile. Understanding the strength of your product (e.g., THC content) can help you establish a suitable starting dose.
  • Start low and go slow: Start with the lowest adequate amount and repeat after two hours if the initial dose fails to deliver your desired outcome.
  • Adjust the dose based on your experience and desired effects: While increasing the dose may help calibrate the dose initially, chronic users may become less responsive to cannabinoids, even at high doses.

Mark Kasabuski recommends taking a brief pause in consumption or tolerance break for those resistant to marijuana.

“T-breaks help to reset the endocannabinoid system,” Mark explains. A minimum break of about  48-72 hours can lower tolerance levels so the effects can be felt at lower doses.

Role of a Health Care Professional in Determining Dosage

As a rule, you should take the same precautions with cannabis capsules as pharmaceutical drugs.

Talk to your healthcare provider or Leafwell Cannabis Guide if you have any questions or concerns regarding dosing, side effects, or potential interactions with other substances. A medical professional can evaluate your medical history and health status and help you determine a dosing schedule to help you achieve your cannabis goals.

Tips for Safe Cannabis Capsule Dosing

Adhering to safe and responsible cannabis habits can maximize your experience and prevent adverse reactions. The following tips can guide safe dosing and help you experience the best of what cannabis capsules offer.

Common Side Effects of Incorrect Cannabis Capsule Dosing

A miscalculation in cannabis capsule dosing can lead to unfortunate outcomes, especially in the case of overconsumption. Marijuana impacts each person differently; therefore, the idea of a “correct” dose is determined individually.

The following are examples of  adverse effects associated with overexposure to psychoactive ingredients such as THC:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Diminished cognitive functioning
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Red Eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Hallucinations

These reactions vary in severity and are based on factors such as the potency of your capsules, the amount consumed, and your tolerance level.

In the case of accidental THC overuse, take deep breaths and remain calm.

“It’s also important to understand that this uncomfortable feeling will end,” Kasabusiki says.

“Knowing that these feelings are temporary and focusing on your breathing is helpful. If things get too overwhelming, and you experience experiencing psychosis, severe vomiting, or chest pains, I recommend calling 911.”

Safe and Effective Dosing Strategies

Rule number one of effective dosing strategies is to start low and go slow. For pills high in THC, Kasabuski suggests new users try a starting dose in the 2.5 mg range and gauge their response after two hours.

It may also be helpful to keep a journal to track your daily dosing habits, including the onset, duration, and intensity of effects and additional reactions you may experience. It’s critical to remain patient and consistent when dosing cannabis pills.

“With capsules, the big mistake consumers make is not being patient with the onset. Some people repeat the dose too soon,” Mark elaborates.

“That first hour goes by, and if they think it’s not working, they take a second dose, and then hour two hits, and it’s too much. Oral consumption methods are exceptionally potent, so take your time as you discover how cannabis capsules impact your mind and body.

The Bottom Line

Cannabis capsules provide a potent, discreet, and precise method of medication, but determining the correct dose requires patience and attention to detail. First-time and seasoned users should proceed cautiously throughout the discovery process and beyond.

The effects of cannabis vary from person to person and are influenced by numerous factors, including your tolerance, metabolism, health status, and potency.  Regardless of your experience level, start low and slow to prevent poor outcomes and achieve optimum results.

Last but not least, consume your cannabis capsules safely and responsibly. Be aware of legal guidelines concerning the possession and consumption of cannabis in your state.

Determining the optimal dose for your medical condition can be tricky when you’re new to medical cannabis. There’s no need to do it alone — Leafwell has you covered with personalized cannabis guidance.

Book a session today to leave the dosing to the professionals and meet with a cannabis counselor for customized dosing advice.

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