How Many Milligrams of THC Am I Smoking?

Milligrams of THC
How Milligrams of THC Is In This Joint?

One of the age old questions for medical cannabis patients has been: how much THC am I smoking? Which brings us to the real question: “How many milligrams of THC is in this Joint?

Fighting off chronic pain, decreasing anxiety, and warding off cancer are just some of the potential benefits of medical marijuana. However, some people are hesitant to pursue a medical marijuana card because they have questions about how much cannabis to use.

Before we go into the specifics, it’s important to note that bioavailability plays a huge role in understanding THC absorption. Bioavailability refers to the proportionate active effect of any drug or substance entering the body. This means your body is unlikely to absorb all of the compounds in any given substance. All prescription medications, vitamin supplements, and foods also have a certain bioavailability when entering your body. THC Bioavailibilty calculates by measuring the THC in the blood and comparing that to how much THC you start within the joint. Bioavailability also varies from person to person and can range from 2% to 56%.

Smoking Methods: Understanding THC Percentages

To understand how much THC has been put into a joint, bong, or pipe, we have to first understand the THC % of your cannabis. When you are shopping for medical cannabis products, most states require a label specifying how much THC is in the product. For example, a flower product may say it has 24% THC in it. This means 24% of the plant’s total chemical compound is comprised of THC. Many consumers and patients rely on these percentages in order to determine how potent a product is (along with it’s other cannabinoids and compounds).

No matter how high or low the percentage is, the type of product, your consumption method and your individual tolerance will all play a role in how much THC is ingested.

How Smoking Affects the THC Amount

Have you ever wondered why people have to smoke marijuana? In short, most cannabis flower requires Combustion (burning or lighting) to get you high. Raw, unsmoked cannabis itself contains little of the components needed to feel psychoactive or “get high”. This is why cannabis flower cannot just be “plucked” and eaten like a raspberry from a bush.

The reason for this is basic science. Cannabis flower is comprised of mostly THC-A. THC-A is the acidic form of the compound THC. The burning of the flower starts the decarboxylation process that transforms THC-A into the THC you know and love, and is inhaled and exhaled. Cannabis edibles typically use cannabis products or extract that is already carboxylated and “activated” so it can be consumed without having to light it on fire.

Believe it or not, burning reduces the amount of THC in the product. As much as 50% of the THC could be lost when you smoke a joint, so you may want to keep that in mind when purchasing flower and deciding how many grams to roll inside. Smoking cannabis though is a fast and reliable delivery method that many cannabis patients rely on due to its quick-acting onset of effects and symptom relief.

How Many Milligrams of THC Are in a Joint?

To calculate how many milligrams of THC are in a joint, you may need an actual calculator. Begin by taking the weight (in milligrams) of your joint and multiplying it by the THC percentage. 

Keep in mind that 1000 milligrams equal one gram. So if you had half a gram, or 500 milligrams, of a product with 20% THC, then you’d have 100 mg of THC.

Depending on how you pack a joint, most modern joints have between 60 to 150 milligrams of THC. And there are other factors that can affect the actual amount absorbed.

When smoking a joint, keep in mind you will only receive 20-37% off the flower’s THC. 23-30% is lost due to the flower getting too hot, thus destroying the THC. There is also a 40-50% loss from sidestream smoke (the smoke from the end of the joint).

THC condenses towards its end, so the first half of the joint is less potent than the second half. The first half of the joint may have 30 mg of THC, while the second half could have 50 mg of THC or more! You may observe this as you notice that your joint may have more resin or stickiness towards the end of it’s burn.

Why It Is Difficult to Calculate THC Joint Amount

There is a pretty big difference between 60 milligrams and 150 milligrams. Why such a difference? As it turns out, several different factors can affect the various amounts of THC that end up in your joints.

Your puffing technique also factors into how much smoke you lose. The volume of how much you inhale is according to the force and amount of times a person inhales. The more you puff, the more THC you are consuming. If you have experience, the best way to increase bioavailability and increase THC consumption is through drawing a series of breaths (AKA repeated puffing).

Joint size is a major factor, as it determines how much product you can include. How much you pack in is a major factor. Factors like the shape of a joint affect how many milligrams and it even affects how high you get.

Long story short? This is why you sometimes hear people make references to “fat joints.” In many ways, how many milligrams of THC are in a joint depends entirely on who rolls it!

How Many Milligrams of THC Are in a Bowl?

selective focus photography of person holding spoon pipe with kush
Smoking A Bowl

Figuring out how many milligrams of THC are in a bowl is similar to figuring out how many milligrams of THC are in a joint. The main factors include the size of the bowl, how tightly it is packed, and the THC content of your cannabis product.

For example, let’s say you have a bowl that can hold up to 250 milligrams of cannabis. If your product has 18% THC, then the bowl would have 45 milligrams of THC in it.

The act of smoking a bowl means that you could lose up to 50% THC due to the open flame directly to the flower. If you lit a bowl and left it sitting hot, you may lose another 5-10% THC from sidestream smoke. This could reduce the number of milligrams effectively entering your bloodstream to somewhere around 22.5 milligrams.

How Many Milligrams of THC Are in a Dab?

If you want the highest level of THC content, consider using dabs. That is because dabs have higher concentrations of THC that can range from 70% all the way to over 90%.

To figure out how many milligrams of THC are in a dab, you need to do a bit of math. For example, let’s say you have a 500 milligram dab with a THC content of 70%. Your wax may have 350 milligrams of THC, but the burning process will reduce how much of that enters your bloodstream.

In that scenario, though, a dab only reduces THC by about a third. That means you’d still be getting 235 milligrams of THC from a hit. With this kind of potency, it’s important to be careful when using a dab!

Dabbing provides you with the most THC per gram, which makes this super potent and not preferable for beginners.

How Many Milligrams of THC are in Vaporizing?

Vaporizing is arguably the most precise and effective form of consuming cannabis. It uses a controlled heating source to bring your weed to the exact temperature that releases optimal THC without heat loss. Vaporizers usually have a loss of 30-45% THC. Vaporization is also debatably safer, as the user is not continuously inhaling “hotter smoke” into their lungs. This can reduce the irritability of your body during the experience of cannabis consumption.

What About Getting High Without a Smoking Method?

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Cannabis Edibles Come In A Variety Of Options

One reason many cannabis users and patients prefer smoking as their consumption method, is because the decarboxylation process allows for a quicker “high” than other methods. As previously explained, that process also burns off a good amount of THC before it can reach your body.

What about methods of getting high without smoking? Having a medical marijuana card may allow you to explore more options beyond just via smoking. For example, some people prefer to ingest THC edibles or capsules. Since these go into your digestive system, they take longer to enter the bloodstream. However, they can also last longer, and there is no burning in the process for less reduction of THC.

With edibles or capsules, the liver metabolizes the THC which creates a longer onset. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for it’s effects or “high” to kick in. However, this consumption method may produce a stronger effect due to less THC loss by smoke. The typical suggested dosage for low tolerance users is 10 milligrams, while new consumers should consider starting with 5 milligrams or lower. The proper milligrams for one person versus another can depend on many different factors. It is important to consult with a cannabis physician upon dosing if you are new to cannabis use.

It’s important to note that with edibles, users should be mindful of how much they consume since it takes longer to kick in. Users at times can mis-judge an edible’s potency only because they made the judgment too soon, while your body is still processing the THC, to kick in later than expected. All those jokes and memes about someone getting too high because they underestimated an edible has some scientific reason to it!

Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today

Ultimately, no matter how you choose to consume cannabis, it’s important to do so in a way that is safe and healthy. And you can figure out what works for you with help from the right doctor. Having a medical card through Prestodoctor allows a patient to ask questions about proper dosing for their intended medical cannabis products with one of our licensed cannabis physicians.

Now you know how to calculate the milligrams of THC are in different smoking methods. But do you know who can help you get your medical marijuana card as soon as possible?

Here at Presto Doctor, we specialize in helping people just like you to get their medical marijuana cards. Ready to stop waiting and experience the benefits of medical cannabis? Let us help you get your card today!

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