Calculating potency is the most difficult part of making edibles because most people don’t know the cannabinoid content of their starting material. Unless you have access to a testing facility, knowing the cannabinoid composition of your starting herb or concentrate is much easier said than done.
The good news is, you can use average THC (or CBD) percentages of the starting material to help ballpark the potency level of your edibles. We should emphasize is that edibles made from 7 grams of top-shelf, California sun-grown OG Kush flowers are going to be significantly stronger than edibles made from 7 grams of synthetically grown trim.
Need help determining the potency of your cannabis? Besides visual inspection, you can do a quick smoke test and rank it among the other strains you have smoked. The following table shows the range of average THC percentage by weight in each type of starting material:
*Please note that this data pertains to THC-rich strains (i.e. the stuff that is intended to get you high, most ‘street weed’) as opposed to medically oriented high-CBD strains, which typically contain lower levels of THC, or organic hemp flower, which contains less than 0.3% THC in accordance with federal regulations. With regards to the bud itself, legal states like Colorado will average more like 18% THC, whereas non-legal states could be closer to 10% THC.
The easiest way to calculate the amount of cannabis starting material required is to back into the number based on what you consider to be a personal dose of THC. For some people, this is 5mg of THC, and for others, it’s in excess of 100mg. For more on how to choose the right dose for you, check out our comprehensive consumption guide.
The next step is to determine how many servings the recipe makes; i.e. does it make 12 or 24 cookies? Multiply the number of servings in the recipe by the desired THC content in each serving; this will yield the total amount of THC in mg required to achieve your desired potency level.
Although this may sound confusing, my friend Jeff the 420 Chef has put together an easy-to-use calculator to help you determine how much cannabis material and oil/butter should be used for any recipe. It will also break down the mg of THC or CBD in each serving size.
If you’re using already-infused coconut oil and it’s too strong, you can dilute it with additional coconut oil to lower its concentration. On the other hand, if it’s too weak, you can re-infuse or add a small amount of highly concentrated cannabis coconut oil to the weaker batch. It may take a few batches before you achieve your perfect dose, but it will get easier and more precise each time.
Bonus: Using Hemp Flower for CBD Edibles
While you might know you can use CBD oils to add a therapeutic punch to your food, did you know you can you also use organic hemp flower to create full-spectrum, food-safe, custom CBD extracts at home?
We like the organic, non-GMO, federally legal hemp flower strains created by Canna Comforts. Each varietal looks, smells, tastes, and smokes just like the top-shelf cannabis strain that inspired it, creating an outstanding medicinal smoking or vaping experience and delicious whole-plant concentrates. As their products are independently tested for quality, purity, and potency, calculating dosage is easier with hemp flower than with traditional cannabis.