Article written by
Jordan WoldSEO Content Writer
Content reviewed by
Dr. Lewis JasseyMedical Director - Pediatric Medicine
Mark KasabuskiProvider Operations Manager
Table of contents
Learning how to dose cannabis concentrates can be tricky, even for experienced users.
Due to how potent concentrates are, it is recommended that you always start with a low dose and monitor the effects before taking more.
It’s also important to consider the chemical composition (chemovar) of the cannabis concentrate, how you’ll consume it, and whether it is solventless.
If you have never used any form of cannabis before, you may want to consider building up your tolerance with more traditional cannabis products.
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Understanding Cannabis Concentrates
Concentrates are produced through an extraction process that separates plant material from cannabinoids and terpenes. Extraction methods may vary from one concentrate to another, but the final product left behind following extraction is usually a highly concentrated, powerful form of cannabis.
In their final form, concentrates can be consumed in various ways, including in dab rigs and vape pens, making cannabis edibles, or even sprinkled on top of cannabis flower.
Types of Cannabis Concentrates
While there are many different kinds of concentrates, the most straightforward line to draw is between solventless concentrates — which are made through a mechanical extraction process that does not require chemicals — and concentrates that use solvents, such as butane, during the extraction process.
Solventless concentrates include kief, bubble hash, and live rosin. Concentrates that do use solvents include crumble, live resin, diamonds, and shatter. These concentrates are commonly made by using butane hash oil.
There are many reasons why you may prefer one or the other. One study suggests that solvent-based concentrates might generally be more potent than concentrates produced through solventless methods.
Still, the same study also indicates that making concentrates using solvents can be dangerous and, in some cases, even illegal. Some may prefer solventless concentrates to avoid these safety concerns, and others may also like them due to their flavor profiles.
Regardless of the extraction method, the final product is bound to be rich in cannabinoid content and THC levels. You may want to look at a range of concentrates to find out what best suits your needs, seeking out specific terpenes and cannabinoid content.
How They Work in the Body
Like all forms of marijuana, concentrates work by interacting with your endocannabinoid system, which can be found throughout your body. More specifically, concentrates interact with your cannabinoid receptors.
As a result of this interaction, you will likely feel the psychoactive effects of cannabis and other therapeutic benefits, including pain relief, sleepiness, creativity, and more. However, those sensitive to THC or prone to anxiety may want to avoid THC-rich concentrates.
While cannabis works similarly in nearly all human bodies, the subjective experience you undergo due to consuming concentrates can be highly unique.
Because concentrates contain so much THC and remove certain plant materials present in many other forms of marijuana, you may find the experience of using concentrates more intense than other methods of cannabis consumption.
Factors Influencing Cannabis Concentrate Dosage
Before determining your concentrate dose, there are several considerations you should take into account. One consideration is your desired effect.
For example, are you looking to have a good time with friends on a special occasion or for a dose you can take consistently to manage a medical condition?
For some expert guidance on additional factors to consider and other dosing tips, we asked for help from Mark Kasabuski, a doctor of pharmacy with over 15 years of experience working in pharmacies and medical cannabis dispensaries.
Individual tolerance and history of cannabis use also affect dosing. If you are brand new to the world of cannabis, Kasabuski recommends that you steer clear of concentrates, at least at first.
“Trying other methods [such as smoking, vaping, or tinctures] would probably be the way to go. With THC, it’s always a ‘less is more’ situation to find what works for you rather than jumping right into the deep end.”
If you are new to cannabis but still plan on using concentrates, consider a product with a 1:1 CBD:THC ratio to mediate the potentially intense effects of taking concentrates. Those who wish to avoid THC altogether may prefer a CBD-rich concentrate.
How to Use and Dose Cannabis Concentrates
If it’s your first time using concentrates or you have taken an extended break, you should start with a small dose. Concentrates are often sold in 1-gram quantities, so consider starting with a fraction of the entire gram for your first dose.
After taking your first dose through your chosen consumption method, you should wait for the dose to take full effect before taking another hit.
If, for example, you found that even one hit of a dab pen was enough to make you feel overwhelmed, you may want to take a lower dose next time, try out a different consumption method, or both.
Dosing may also depend on your medical condition. For example, high doses of THC can be beneficial for pain relief while increasing anxiety in some people, even though lower doses of THC can relieve anxiety.
If you find dosing 0.1 grams works for you, great! As your tolerance builds up, you may want to increase the dose slightly, but generally, consistency is key.
Knowing what works for you can be challenging if you change your dose every time you consume. You may also want to avoid using concentrates too often to prevent building a high tolerance to THC.
Tips for Safe Dosing
Because concentrates are generally more potent than most other forms of cannabis, you should be extra careful to ensure you are dosing safely. Remember that high doses of THC are associated with side effects such as paranoia or anxiety in some users.
If you are on any regular medications, consider speaking to your doctor about your plans to use cannabis concentrates, especially if you are new to cannabis in general.
You can follow several best practices to minimize the possibility of adverse side effects to concentrates beyond starting low and going slow.
Some actions you can take include but are not limited to:
- Staying hydrated
- Taking a pure CBD product
- Taking a nap
- Taking deep breaths
- Not consuming more THC
The Bottom Line
Cannabis concentrates can be an excellent tool, but their robust nature might be best reserved for individuals with significant experience using marijuana.
If you decide to use concentrates, remember to start low and go slow, allowing the initial dose to take full effect before taking any more.
For help figuring out how to best utilize cannabis in your life, consider making an appointment for personalized cannabis guidance, where an expert will help provide a customized plan for the role cannabis can play in your health and wellness routine.
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