Doctors Say Only One Puff is Recommended Dose of Marijuana

Additional Puffs Actually Reverse Benefits of Weed

It doesn't take as much as previously thought. In fact, it takes very little to offer pain relief.
It doesn't take as much as previously thought. In fact, it takes very little to offer pain relief. | Source

Too Much can be Dangerous for the Depressed

How do you make a medical marijuana dose? How do you get the same amount of medicine in each dose? Can you take it on a regular schedule, or just as needed? Do you know how to calculate how much to take on vacation? It can be a bit confusing, unless you follow a simple formula that I‘ll share in just a moment.

It’s especially difficult to get accurate medical marijuana dosage because different kinds of medical MJ contain different levels of THC. Even two plants of the same strain may have differing amounts of THC due to variables made by the growers or other influences, such as temperature.

Throughout all of the strains of plants, some have medicinal properties that relieve certain maladies, yet they won’t work well on other ailments. There is actually a certain kind of weed for what’s wrong with each patient.

For instance, there’s one kind of medicinal bud called, “Kush” (named for the Kush mountains in Afghanistan where it was first grown) is good for sleep and anxiety and “Blue Mist” is better for aches and pains, where “God Dreams“ is for severe pain.

And pain isn’t the only treatment, the use of cannabis eases many other disorders as well. There’s nothing in the pharmacy that takes away nausea like marijuana, and it’s a great appetite stimulant for eating disorders, among a myriad of other benefits.

It’s enough to make you want to trade it for a drink! Asking questions to the medical marijuana dispensary attendant is the best way to find out which one you should get; they’re there to help and happy to educate patients.

Medical Marijuana Facts And Variables

Then you have people - as different as we can all be from each other. Some people have a higher tolerance for pain, some have a propensity for exaggerating pain, and some are just plain stoic through their pain. Prescribing a single blanket medical marijuana dose that would benefit each of those people would be impossible without over medicating or under medicating at least one of them.

There are no immediate dangers from using medical marijuana, so smoking too much marijuana won’t hurt anyone. However, if a patient isn’t giving themselves enough of a dose, it may not work and they’ll still be suffering. It they get too much in a dose, they’ll want to sleep all the time, and that’s no way to live. Dosage is important.

MMJ dispensaries follow strict guidelines and users can ask for the potency test results of any kind of marijuana. This way an informed decision can be made for getting either strong or weak varieties. But, even with that information, you still need to know how much marijuana to smoke and how often.

Science Proves Dosage Assessment

Dr. Gabriella Gobbi at McGill University Health Centre conducted many studies on the subject plant and found that the lowest possible dose was most effective. The old adage of ‘if some is good then more is better’ doesn’t work with marijuana.

Gobbi’s research, among similar studies done by several other scientists, showed that just a single puff of medicinal use marijuana smoked several times throughout the day offered the most pain relief. This same dose was also found to be accurate in treating depression and anxiety in the test subjects. Some patients will likely need two puffs, but even that is very minimal use.

However, caution should be used with depression and anxiety because if a larger dose is taken, the marijuana doesn’t just stop working, it actually reverses the benefits. Test subjects not only got depressed again, but they got more severely affected than they were before the test.

But, when used for pain a large dose merely ceases to work and the patient just gets stoned, instead. At least they don’t care as much about their pain that way, as medical marijuana benefits are diminished.

The federal government has figured that the average patient will need up to 8.24 grams per day; that’s over a quarter ounce, or many pounds per year. That may be a little high or a bit low compared to what most registered users are ingesting, but that’s a blanket recommended dosage.

The Magic Formula for Measuring MMJ Doses in Food

There is a formula that offers some kind of base to go on when trying to figure doses. No weed under 10% THC content should ever be used, just FYI. Eating weed requires 3-5 times the volume needed for smoking it to get the same effect. Keep this in mind when stocking up supplies and planning use.

When putting the MMJ in food, you first have to decide upon the method the MMJ will be delivered. You can put bud directly into the mix, like for brownies, or you can infuse olive oil or butter and use it in the mix. You need to know the concentration for easier dosing.

Let’s say we’re making MMJ cookies and we have 14 grams of weed.

Steep the marijuana in 8 ounces of very warm (not hot) oil (veg or olive) for 8 hours or until completely cool; doing this part the night before works well, then you can simply strain it into a measuring cup in the morning. When straining, squeeze handfuls to get all the oil out. The oil may have taken on a more green color, this is okay.

To figure the concentration of the medicine in the oil you divide the amount of weed by the amount of oil.

14g ¸ 8oz=1.75g of weed extract per ounce of oil (concentration)

Now you need to multiply the amount of oil used by the concentration. For this cookie recipe we need 1/3 cup (2.7oz) of the MMJ oil.

2.7oz x 1.75g/oz = 4.7 grams of weed extract (THC) in the oil.

Say we made 24 cookies. We then divide the amount of weed in the recipe by the 24 cookies, and we end up with 0.2 grams per cookie.

4.7g ¸ 24=0.2g/cookie

It Isn’t Rocket Science

It seems confusing but it’s really easy when you’re doing it. This same formula can be used for different amounts and for anything you want to divide doses of medicinal marijuana into.

Some users prefer 0.4 grams per dose or food item (cookie, cake, Tbsp butter, etc.), and some think that’s too high. It really depends on the person, their pain, and the strength of the particular weed being used.

Nobody can know if someone else’s pain is comfortable or not, only the patient can discern that and the amount of medicine that brings them relief.

At least with this formula you can keep track of how much you need and use, and you can even plan ahead or leave town with a supply by making up food batches. It’ll also free you from having to travel with large amounts of weed on you; instead you’ll carry brownies, cookies, cake or whatever you make the medicine in.

So experiment to see how much it takes to gain relief, and find out how many .2g cookies you need for a dose. Remember, it’ll take longer to affect you, but the medicine will last longer if eaten. Smoking MMJ gives the fastest relief, but it doesn’t last long.

Ultimately, a person ranking their pain on level 8 or higher (10 being excruciating pain) is recommended to eat a dose and then smoke a dose right away, so the immediate effects of the smoke will take action while waiting for the eaten dose to kick in and last longer.


  • Chris, “Cannabis Yields Dosage” by Chris Conrad, accessed on May 18, 2012.
  • Silence, “Oral Cannabis Ineffective In Treating Acute Pain, Study Finds,” by Wild Bill, American Society of Anesthesiologists, published June 24, 2008, accessed May 18, 2012
  • Legal, “Medical Marijuana Dosage,” no author listed, no publish date, accessed on May 18, 2012.
  • University of California - San Diego “Smoked Cannabis Proven Effective In Treating Neuropathic Pain,” no author listed, published October 24th, 2007, accessed on May 18, 2012

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I Welcome Your Comments 5 comments

PWalker281 4 years ago

Very informative hub on MMJ and dosage. I can certainly see why this information would be important for people who have made the decision to include medical marijuana in their healing process.

And one size doesn't fit all. I've discovered, for example, that I only need one antihistamine tablet to manage an allergy attack, but I have to take it as soon as I start sneezing; otherwise, it doesn't work. And I prefer the four-hour variety as opposed to the 24 hour pills because they do make me "dopey," and I don't want to me fuzzy headed for a 24-hour stretch.

So it's extremely important to "listen" to how our bodies react to medicines, no matter what they are. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Tony Marsden profile image

Tony Marsden 4 years ago from Northam Western Australia

I've always said less is best. Too many people waste their dope by sitting there and smoking the whole lot in one session. They are stupid.

SandyMcCollum profile image

SandyMcCollum 4 years ago Author

Agreed, Tony! I also know those who don't hold it in, they inhale it and right away exhale it. Waste!!

glassmosaicist profile image

glassmosaicist 4 years ago from UK

The less smoke inhaled the better, vaporisers are a good idea too

shan 2 years ago

Thanks for this information I am suffering beyond my control from pain I feel like the worst mom and wife on earth since I've been I'll I'm on pain meds high blood pressure and anti depressants. I can't do this....i can't get out of bed. I cry daily. I used to run and swim I loved life and it loved me back. Tomorrows Christmas eve. I have to go outside today with my kids and I'm already afraid of shaking and having them see me in agony. I have NEVER used marijuana but I read about it so this morning I will try a puff or two. Thanks for the time you spend informing people like me who are suffering and lost. I live in Wisconsin and medical form is not legal and I didn't known what to do so my husband went out to find a small amount so send up a prayer and wish me health. I send you all wishes for happiness health and a lifetime of peace.

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