The Ultimate Guide to Low-Dose Weed

Because being too high is no fun.

low dose weed
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

A good high is, well, a very good feeling. But getting too high? That moment when giggly euphoria shifts towards anxious overthinking—that is no fun. It’s also been traditionally limiting, forcing those with lower tolerances to cautiously nibble on edibles and avoid flower altogether.

The good news is it’s 2022, baby, and the options for lower dosers are expanding every day. Not just in regards to hemp and CBD options, either. True, low dose offerings of 1-5-milligram THC edibles and innovative products that make smoking a joint possible again, at any tolerance are available. So whether you’re interested in flower, edibles, vapables, or a little of everything (pun intended), here is the ultimate guide for maintaining a comfortable altitude.

Isn’t CBD low dose?

Sort of. The CBD readily available online and in grocery stores is made from hemp of wildly varying qualities. When it’s high quality CBD, it can be an ideal dose for some tolerances. CBD amplified with adaptogens by brands like Recess and TONIC may be a better fit for others. For many, though, it just doesn’t produce enough effects to check all the boxes of mind altering and/or body relieving needs.

Puff at your pace

Hemp joints, for example, are a perfect starting point for low dosers interested in the feel of smoking flower. But they aren’t your only option. Herbal brands like Barbari and Puff Herbal Blends sell smokable mixes of herbs like raspberry leaf, damiana leaf, and jasmine blossom that can be mixed with weed for a milder spliff. Barbari sells 50/50 spliffs in some states. You can even enjoy longer, low dose hookah seshes in California with High Desert’s hookable bud.

When it comes to vape pens and cartridges, you’d think the calculated, scientific precision would make low doses easy. However, the combination of a high-THC driven market and a confusing way of presenting THC content as overall percentage in test results create more obstacles between you and a mellower dose via vape. Those with lower tolerances should look for high CBD to THC ratios, ideally 3:1 for as minor a THC presence as possible while maintaining that lifted effect. MISTIFI offers a 1:1 disposable vape pen with 40-60% THC and 25-40% CBD. The trick is to wait long enough to gauge effects before you take one too many puffs. Quill has solved that problem with a measured pen that only doses a set amount of oil per puff, allowing you to calculate how many milligrams you’re consuming as you exhale.

Take more than bites

Legal adult use and medical markets have expanded the possibilities far beyond pot brownies of unknown potencies, but it’s still a world made for high tolerances. An unofficial standard has emerged of 5 milligrams as a common single serving, i.e. 10-piece containers of 5-milligram 1906 Drops and Wyld gummies.

But for many, even that 5 milligrams is too much, and they often eat one half at a time. Low dosers deserve better than that, and fortunately, the cavalry has arrived. Cue lower dosed sweets like the 1-milligram Singles from Rose Delights and the ginger hard candy Suns by Cosmic View, dosed at a 1:1 ratio of two point five mg THC and two point five mg CBD. In aesthetic opposition to one half of a nibbled gummy, Cloud 11 makes abstract chocolates that look like expensive art sculptures all their own, each dosed at 2 or 4 milligrams of THC.

Beyond sweets and edible highs, the beverage scene is packed with a variety of low dose formulas and flavors. Tonic-styled products like Artet can be splashed into soda water for a mellow, 2.5 milligrams THC buzz per 1.7 fluid ounce, while Wunder sparkling canned drinks contain interesting ratios like 2 milligrams THC, 2 milligrams Delta-8 THC and 4 milligrams CBD. You can get creative with these products to make your own perfectly dosed cocktail hour, too.

What is Delta 8 anyway?

In many legalized and non-legalized states, Delta 8 is the new gray area cannabinoid that can be derived from hemp, and thus exist outside the regulated cannabis system, but still hit like half-strength THC. Like real THC.

Low dosers should explore the Delta 8 realm with caution, because while many products will have stronger effects than CBD, they’re even less likely to have been properly tested for purity and potency. It’s more of a gamble as to whether that product will actually feel like “cannabis lite.”

Whatever happens, you’ll be okay

If you happen to get too enthusiastic with any of these suggestions and find yourself reaching a point beyond comfortably stoned, fear not: this too shall pass. Just drink some water, try crunching on some peppercorn, and settle into your favorite TV show to rewatch. You’re going to be right as rain after a couple hours.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Lauren Yoshiko is a freelance writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. She writes The Broccoli Report, a bi-weekly newsletter for creative cannabis entrepreneurs.