Two Keys to Responsible Cannabis Consumption: Timing and Dosage
Cannabis is serious and you should treat it with respect. And you should also treat yourself with respect. That’s why you should know how to use it responsibly. And I’m not saying you should do this for the greater good of humanity–you owe it to yourself to know how to use it properly because it can seriously change your life for the better.
Use Cannabis as a Reward
Look at that little puppy in the title image. You wouldn’t just give him a treat unless he was a good boy, right?
Given that the THC in cannabis can be used at any time to induce euphoria, pain relief, inspiration, general happiness, etc., the single most important key to responsible use is timing.
With cannabis, you have the power to induce a positive state of mind at will. So this should not be used to mask problems, but to reinforce habits through association (classical conditioning). This means that you should consume it only after or during some productive and healthy activity, in order to “reward good behavior.” A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “do I deserve to feel euphoric right now?” Many times the answer is “no,” like after you’ve sat around all day eating Cheetos, watching 5 consecutive episodes of Game of Thrones. Other times, the answer is “yes,” like after you’ve completed a high intensity, high endurance mental, physical, spiritual, or career-oriented activity which forces you to push yourself and feel uncomfortable.
Activities like painting, cleaning, writing, working, or doing yoga require a considerable amount of focus and effort, but do not naturally activate anandamide excretion in the brain. So you might want to give mother nature a helping hand and smoke some cannabis after these activities to reinforce the behavior and reward your efforts.
Avoid Escaping Reality
Cannabis is meant to enhance reality, not help you escape it. Cannabis is a constructive tool, and like any other tool, it must be used skillfully on the correct project. The project of your life is to flourish and bud, just like the cannabis plant. It seems self-evident to me that you should only ingest flowers when you are being flower-like.
Use a Proper Dosage
Cannabis is an all-encompassing drug. It can mildly relax you, heighten your consciousness, or produce vivid hallucinations and religious experiences. It was used as an entheogen by Indian orthodox yogis in the time of the Vedas to remove sin and deliver one to God. It was a tool which eased spiritual journeys and strengthened the buttresses of the temple of the soul.
A standard recreational dose for edibles is 10mg of THC. Personally, I have a low tolerance, even as a frequent user, and find that 5 mg, or one long toke, is sufficient for most purposes. The following is a list of activities that are suited for each of three dose levels: low (5 mg), medium (10-15 mg), and high (25 mg+).
Low Dosage (5 mg oral); one toke
One Toke = one satisfying inhale from any joint, pipe, or bong, holding for 5 seconds. These dosages assume that the user has no tolerance build up.
This is a supplemental dose. A low dose should be used to emulate endogenous anandamide secretion and reinforce behaviors which are naturally less euphoric than you would like. If, for example, you feel overwhelmed by exercising, or it doesn’t give you any pleasure, try taking a low dose of THC and going on a run, or stretching on a yoga mat. In this article I provide a model for a mild-dose THC experience.
Don’t laze around when you take a mild dose of cannabis. Lazing around while sober does not provide any anandamide because if doing nothing made us happy, we would never do anything. The bottom line: be conscious of what you’re doing while consuming cannabis. A low dose should be used to enhance pre-existing euphoria or provide it when it is missing from a worthy activity.
You may also find that this is a good “pick me up” dose. If you’re working on something, and you’ve been doing it for hours, a quick walk and a toke can leave you feeling refreshed and motivated to work for a few more hours.
Medium Dosage (10-15 mg oral); two to three tokes
At this dosage, you’re moving beyond what your body is endogenously capable of. You’re apt to have a temporarily impaired short term memory and indecisive executive decision functioning. You will, however, have amazingly great insight, focus, and creative inspiration.
Be prepared to feel more “in the present,” as if you are incapable of worrying about things which happened in the past or will be happening tomorrow. For this reason, a medium dosage is not useful if you have any important projects on the go, or if you need to do any careful planning. It is also not good for studying or for school tests.
In my experience, this dose is the best for writing, drawing, or making music. This is because the products of your creation will be saved externally in a file or on paper. You are not likely to internally remember all of the racing, profound thoughts that you experience while in this state. One of my favorite things to do at this dose is to write a journal and ruminate on things. Try it and you’ll learn a lot about yourself.
You will also find that at this dosage, meditating feels totally natural and even fun. You won’t be able to control your mind as much as if you were sober, but you’ll be able to access deeper regions of your body with more accuracy and intensity. You may find it hard to sit still–a short meditation is ideal. Your awareness will be so high that the only trouble you’ll have is choosing what you want to be aware of.
Another benefit of a medium dose is its hypnotic effect. 3 tokes of a heavy indica will, for most people, put them to sleep if they’re already tired. Personally, 3 tokes of an indica joint at bedtime keeps me awake because I lose control of my thoughts, so my mind starts to spin. It’s best to try it out for yourself–chances are it will work for you.
High Dosage (25 mg+ oral); six to eight tokes (one whole joint)
Terrence McKenna once said, in a workshop, “I’m an inveterate cannabis user, and I wish in a way that I could get a slightly better grip on my cannabis use, because I think the real way to do cannabis is like once a week, by yourself, in silent darkness, with the strongest stuff you can get, and then immense amounts of it.”
This is the recreational, jaw dropping dose that gives you the full “high”. It is the dose for the victorious, the chronics, and the catatonics. Break through to the other side, or treat severe pain, insomnia, or nausea. For the everyday person experimenting with weed, this should be used as a reward for big life accomplishments: think Arnold Schwartzennegar smoking a joint to celebrate his 7th Mr. Olympia win.
For the ritualistic, experienced cannabis user, this amount should be sequestered to weekends, or after all the hard work is done, to reflect, tear down structures, and refresh.
If you have this much weed at night, you’ll likely feel tired and groggy the next morning. And if you take it in the morning, you’d better not have anything on your schedule.
Some words of caution: being “too high” is not fun for most people. But if you’re an inveterate cannabis user, your chemical tolerance and toughened psyche should see you through the experience without any problems. If you choose a strain with high CBD, a high dosage is best for therapeutic effects, as you will also get a lot of action from terpenes and other minor cannabinoids, which in lower doses are almost negligible.
That’s All Folks
That’s all I have to say for now on the topic of responsible cannabis use. To sum up, make sure to take a dose which accurately satisfies your needs. It’s better to start off slowly and use more later if you feel like it. Remember to use cannabis to enhance your life: not to hide from it. Take a suitable dosage at the right time. That’s all there is to it.