This post was originally published in 2015 and since then, I've written an updated guide and created a THC/CBD calculator to help you get an idea of how much THC/CBD is in your infusions. Click here to read the updated guide.
When I first published my eBook, Wake & Bake, a lot of the questions I in my inbox sounded like this:
I've got 10 grams of trim, an eighth of fire and some stems and leaves from my friend's indoor grow, if I make a cup of cannabis coconut oil, what would be the right dosage for me to take?
I used to write these questions off. I'd tell them to try it themselves; to “start low and go slow.” On crankier days, my response emails had somewhat of a “how the fuck should I know” vibe.
I'm sorry to share this sad sad news, but… there's just no way for me to know what the potency of your cannabis is, what your tolerance is, what you're taking it for, how medicated you want to be, etc… I just don't have a superpower that allows me to calculate the THC level of your cannabis coconut oil is and see how the cannabinoid profile is going to personally affect you.
Becoming a THC Detective
But this dismissive attitude wasn't helping anyone. I started thinking that if folks wanted to get a better idea of how much THC was in a teaspoon of their oil, I could start there.
I started thinking about it, and I believe I've figured out a relatively simple way for folks to calculate THC in their oil dosage. I shared it in the second edition of Wake & Bake: a cookbook, and I really wanted to get it out into the world because it's fun for your brain.
This method will help you get a better idea of how much THC is in your cannabis infused coconut oil, but it doesn't scratch the surface of telling you what the overall cannabinoid profile looks like or how the oil will affect you. We tend to focus on THC, but other cannabinoids definitely contribute to how effective/potent your oil is and how it affects you. There are other factors that contribute to how potent your oil is (to you), but we'll have to talk about all of that in another post. This one is already going to be a doozy.
I'd just like to issue a quick disclaimer before we begin:
This post is a rabbit hole. There's a lot of guesstimating and conjecture involved. I'm not a medical professional and am not sharing this information as medical advice. I am not a marijuanamathmatician. Please consult your doctor for more information and to talk about the dosage and strains that would help treat your medical condition(s) if it is legal in your state. This post is for entertainment and information sharing purposes only. Cannabis oil can be much more potent than your calculations lead you to believe depending on your tolerance, body composition and even what you ate that day. Start low and go slow whenever consuming edibles. Never operate heavy machinery or make important life-altering decisions under the influence of cannabis. Keep out of reach of children, pets, and unstable adults.
How Many Grams of Cannabis Per Cup?
Luke wrote last week and our conversation inspired me to share the formula for finding the approximate amount of THC in a given “dose” of cannabis oil. He asked:
I was wondering… in the instructions it says use a cup or about 7 grams of herb to one cup of oil. I have 14 grams of medical grade shake. I was hoping to make 2 batches out of it following this recipe. I notice that 7 grams of my shake might not be a whole cup. That's just from looking at it in the bag. Do you think 7 grams exactly will be enough for a cup of oil assuming that there might not be a whole cup of herb, or should I reduce the amount of oil to keep it potent? I'm hoping to be able to take teaspoon size doses each day. I'm also a veteran smoker so I have a decent tolerance and also usually eat about a joint's worth of avb everyday, which makes me feel quite nice in the mornings 😉
I suggested that Luke reduce the amount of oil to keep it potent. I think it's a lot easier to add more regular oil to make it less potent than to add more infused oil to a recipe to increase the potency, especially when you're trying to bake with cannabis.
I've noticed that If I really pack a cup with trim/shake, I can fit up to 18 grams of cannabis in each cup. Luke had 14 grams and said that the amount of his herb nearly filled a cup. In just a minute, we'll come back to Luke's story, but right now… to answer the question you're all dying to know…
How Many Milligrams of THC in One Teaspoon of Oil?
When you buy an edible in a store, it will probably say something like “50 mg” or “100mg”. But what does that number mean and where does it come from? Can you figure it out for your homebaked edibles? Yes! Let’s do some motha-fn-math.
1 gram cannabis = 1000mg dry weight
On average, many marijuana strains contain about 10% THC (that percentage is generally higher if you're using buds as opposed to trim or shake).
That would mean that out of 1000mg of dry weight, 100mg of that would be THC.
Sounds easy, right? For every gram of cannabis you infuse into your oil, you’d get a 100mg edible. Right? Well cowboy, hold your horses. Some strains of marijuana are much higher than 10% THC, and could increase the THC content of your edible exponentially.
This Skywalker OG = 20% THC
This Maui = 12% THC
So… If we bake a big cookie using 1 gram of Skywalker OG, it would be approximately 200mg.
If we bake that same cookie using 1 gram of Maui, that cookie would be approximately 120mg.
And if we bake that cookie using 1 gram of mystery nugget, that cookie could be anywhere from 100-210mg.
Simple! Right? Well…
To make matters more complicated, the purple erkle that we grow…
Can have a completely different THC percentage than the one that you grow. It may even be a different THC percentage than the one right down the row…
If you grow our own or know the strain of your herb, you can look up the THC percentage online.
If you get your cannabis from a dispensary, you’ll know exactly how potent your strain is and can dose your baked goods accordingly by doing a teeny tiny bit of math.
If you just don’t know wtf is in your bag, you’ll have to test it yourself before using in recipes. What a pity.
Real World Dosing (Luke's Story)
In the real world, most of us figure out the correct dosage by being our own guinea pigs. We consume cannabis oil in small amounts until the desired effect is reached and then stop there, and then we know the ideal dose for that batch. It's a good idea to test before making marijuana recipes with your oil at least once. Spread it on toast, put it in coffee or take it 1/4 teaspoon at a time.
In order to see what this looks like, let's check back in with Luke. He decided to use 14 grams to 1 cup of oil. He didn't know the THC percentage, but said that it was many different top shelf strains that were looking mighty crystal-y. Let's guess at around 15% THC to be on the safe side.
14000 mg of cannabis x 0.15 = 2100 mg THC per cup of oil
2100 mg per cup of oil / 48 teaspoons = 43.75 mg per teaspoon
Luke decided to make his cannabis oil in a mason jar. And this is his story (brace yourself… it's a wild ride). You can skim to the bold parts to read about his experiences figuring out the perfect dose:
Hey Corinne,I've got a little story for you this morning…Allow me to paint a picture here.I made the oil last night and stuck to your instructions perfectly. It took me longer than I thought it would because for some reason, I couldn't seem to get the heat right. Like I said, I put everything in a mason jar inside of a crock pot full of water. Now, my wife is able to do glorious, wonderful things with that crock pot… I can't even get a pot of water to heat up on high. Whatever…I didn't have a way to test the temp, but the water never boiled, just got hot enough to steam like crazy. I did like you said and burped the jar since I had the lid on. Definitely had a slight bit of pressure on it each time, but not too much. Needless to say, I ended up letting it sit in there for almost 4 hours because it just didn't seem like the herb was infusing with the oil, but it also could just be that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about.So once I decided it had been long enough I let it cool and did the straining process, squeezed the cheese cloth, all that good stuff. Then something terrible happened. I was done, kitchen cleaned, oil was cooled and in the final storage container, and I was ready for bed. I went to put the top on the container, when out of nowhere, some evil black magic witchery took over my hands and I basically just smacked the bowl off the stove knocking it over…I just kinda stood there with a broken heart, not really knowing what to do or how to react… it almost felt like the end… I scraped up and salvaged what I could and the rest is in that little crack between the stove and the counter. It can stay there for all I care. I think I probably have a half cup left.Now for the good news. 1 teaspoon ended up being borderline too much for me this morning. Much better and stronger than when I would eat avb. I went all in and used all 14 grams of shake to 1 cup of coconut oil. The 14 grams of herb was slightly less than a cup. I actually started with a 1/2 teaspoon to be safe at 6:30 this morning. After an hour, I could definitely feel it, but it was super mellow. So I ended up going for another 1/2 teaspoon on my way out of the house, which was more like a glob on the end of my finger so, give or take. By the time I got to work and got settled in, things were definitely getting intense. I'd say for me with this ratio of herb to oil, a little less than teaspoon would probably suffice for a good “most of the day” dosage.I would also like to add that I absolutely despise coconut….but I still went with organic unrefined oil and used the table spoon of sunflower lecithin and I love the taste. Reminds me of some kind of breakfast/granola bar or something. I think I'm gonna have to figure out a different way to decarb though. Some way where I can do it outside (my wife was a tad bit pissed at the smell…). Maybe in like a toaster oven out in the garage? Perhaps a slightly lower temp since the goods will be closer to the heat source? Idk.So, there you have it. Success, with a little heartache, but never the less a great end result from a great and easy to follow article by you. Thank you very much.I have a question… Since I suffer from pretty bad lower back pain 24/7 and don't want to take any kind of pills, I was hoping that consuming my goods this way would be a good remedy for the pain. Unfortunately, edibles usually don't give me as much relief as I would think they would. Maybe just need a stronger dose? (now for the actual question) I can use this as a topical ointment for pain, right? If so, would I leave it on or wash it off after a while? Also, will it affect me like eating it does, or just work for the pain externally? One other thing, it seems like the oil should have become darker. Since I may have been at lower temp than what it should have been, should it have cooked longer? Is there a chance that I didn't get everything extracted that should have been? I saved the cheese cloth and herb in the same mason jar in the fridge in case there was a chance that I could/should do it again. Anywho…Thanks again for the recipe and for answering all of my questions. I hope some of the less unfortunate information in my short story is helpful to you.Thanks!Luke
But the story doesn't end there… After having the oil on hand for a few days, you usually adjust the dose to support your lifestyle. A couple of days later, I got another email from Luke:
Hey Corinne,I know that you mentioned possibly using my results of the proper dosage for your dosage article so I thought I should change something that I originally stated in my last email. After taking the first dose, I originally thought that 1 teaspoon was the perfect dosage for me with the 14 grams to 1 cup of oil ratio. Now that I've been consuming the oil every day, I've definitely determined that a 1/2 teaspoon is just right, at least on a work day. That teaspoon dose that I took the first time really got me zooted and I found that a 1/2 teaspoon is still pretty powerful and lasts all day….like…ALL day. I would also like to change something else that I had mentioned before. I originally felt like eating the oil didn't do what I thought it would for my back pain, but honestly, once a couple of hours go by, I'll usually notice that my back isn't quite as bad as it is when I haven't eaten any, which is awesome and definitely better relief than when I just smoke or vape. This is some pretty potent stuff and I'm really happy with your recipe and will be sticking to it for sure. I just gotta make sure that next time, my top priority is NOT spilling the majority of it. Lol, still pretty upset about that. Oh well…you win some you lose some…right?Have a great day and thanks again!Luke
Holy shit you guys… that was the most long-winded post ever to appear on Wake & Bake. So what did we learn?
We learned that the best way to test your dosage is by trying it in small amounts over a long period of time until you feel fantastic. We also learned that guestamath with pot is fun!
So why did this post turn out this long if that's all we really learned? I'm just sitting around waiting to have this kickass little lady baby and I've got all of the time in the world at the moment. I mean, I obviously don't have enough time to proofread or check my math or anything (sorry for that first super effed up calculation, Luke), but apparently I had the time to ramble on about dosage.
I'll be on maternity leave for quite awhile and may not be able to get to all of your questions. So if you see a question in the comments section that you know the answer to, jump in! Let's all help each other out 🙂
I hope to get a few more things up on the blog before I get into the thick of being a new mama, but if I don't, you can always nab a copy of Wake & Bake: a cookbook in the meantime…
I want to thank Sir Luke again for being such a good sport and taking the time out of his week to be a dosage guinea pig and report back on his experiences.