How much should I eat? The effects of edibles are different for everybody, so a cautious approach is key. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

Get educated about edibles: Eight tips for getting right dose

With the arrival of marijuana legalization in the U.S. comes medicated cookies, gummies, brownies, caramels, hard candies, chocolates, Rice Krispies treats and more — available for purchase in states that allow infused edibles within their pot laws.

Edibles make up a sizable chunk of Colorado pot shop business, anywhere from 20-40 percent of overall sales, according to industry estimates — and for good reason, say industry leaders.

“They’re discreet, and it’s an easy way to dose the medication,” said Bob Eschino, a partner at Colorado-based Medically Correct, which makes the popular Incredibles infused chocolate bars. “Especially here in Colorado, where you can’t smoke in public, you can still medicate with edibles.”

As any seasoned marijuana user can attest, edibles provide a mysterious high — one that is infinitely different than the buzz obtained from smoking or vaporizing. When you combine that with the varying ways edibles affect different people, it can be an unpredictable experience on your first foray.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what size you are,” said Dan Meinerz, partnership manager with tourism company My 420 Tours. “Edibles are going to affect everybody differently.”

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So how can consumers find the right dose of marijuana-infused edibles? At the moment, exact dosing via edibles is impossible in Colorado for a number of reasons. But there are a few steps consumers can take as they attempt to dose properly in the Wild West that is Colorado’s early-2014 marijuana landscape, and here they are.

Get educated about edibles: Eight tips for getting right dose
How much should I eat? The effects of edibles are different for everybody, so a cautious approach is key. (Hyoung Chang, Denver Post file)

1. Are you experienced: “We always ask people if they have they tried cannabis before,” said Ean Seeb of central Denver dispensary Denver Relief. “Have they eaten or smoked before? If not, we’ll start them out slower.” It’s worth noting that tolerance doesn’t often translate from smoking pot to eating it. Read on and you’ll see that a high smoking tolerance doesn’t equal a high tolerance for edibles.

2. Listen to your body: “Know that body mass, age, metabolism, gender and body chemistry at that point in time all vary in the effectiveness of the medicine,” said Jayson Emo, better known in the Colorado weed community as Giddy Up and a production head at Gaia’s Garden, a 5-year-old infused edibles company. Ask your budtender a couple questions about your body type, gender and age; THC’s fickle relationship with fatty cells, regardless of how much pot you smoke, might throw you for an unexpected loop.

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3. Never on an empty stomach: “We always recommend that people treat (edibles) like they would a painkiller — like Vicodin or Percocet,” said My 420 Tours’ Meinerz, who regularly advises tourists on the dos and don’ts of Colorado cannabis. “You never wanna have it on an empty stomach, so maybe start with a little bit, and have it with some food.” Just envision the sticker on your prescription bottle of antibiotics: TAKE WITH FOOD.

4. Measuring by milligrams: “We consider 10 milligrams to be a unit or dose of THC,” said Christie Lunsford, director of operations at 3D Cannabis Center. When you’re dosing out an edible, drink or tincture, you’ll calculate the amount of activated THC in each piece or square. If the 100-milligram chocolate bar splits into 10 pieces, each one is roughly 10 milligrams apiece. Dose accordingly — but only after reading No. 7 on this list.

Read the rest of the edibles dosing steps here.