Photography by Jennifer Marx for Kitchen Toke

3 Reasons Why Dosing is the Holy Grail of the Cannabis Industry

“Whatever you do, only take ONE BITE. I cannot be responsible for what will happen to you if you eat more.”

– said every college pot brownie baker.

Many of us share similar stories — how we went out of our minds eating a brownie or a cookie at a party. With little regard for potency, we downed one brownie, then another 45 min later because we weren’t feeling it, then BOOOOOM — I can’t do anything because I need to watch my fingers move — for three hours.

Dosing is important for many different reasons, whether you’re a canna-curious first timer, a veteran medical user or a cannabis business owner.

We are 10 states in to a nationwide transformation on cannabis — this before developing a cursory understanding of the human cannabinoid system. Changes in state laws have moved society beyond our ability to research. While we’re just beginning to figure things out, the demand for reliable cannabis products and information is growing.

Legislation, banking and clean farming are all important issues facing the industry, however these three reasons remind us that the largest segment of the market needs to be reassured the science of dosing has moved beyond the days of the sketchy pot brownie. They need to know that proper dosing has made cannabis personal, positive and effective.

1. “Normalizing” cannabis starts with proper dosing

The words “normal” and “destigmatize” are often used by cannabis brands when discussing how to communicate with their target markets.

“We want to reach Wine Mom and Joe Six Pack with a message that helps them understand that cannabis is normal and safe. Don’t worry, if you don’t like smoking try one of our delicious edible candy bars. Just take one bite to experience blissful relaxation with no hangover.” –Fictional Cannabis Company CMO

Infused or not, when’s the last time anyone has had just ONE bite of a delicious candy bar?

What will Joe Six Pack do when he takes one bite and nothing happens after 30 minutes — or when he decides to eat the whole candy bar at once just because he likes the taste? 100mg of THC and 8 hours later, he’s crying on the floor trying to explain to the 911 operator that he’s going to die and he thinks giant cats are trying to get into his house through the TV. So much for normalization.

These seemingly apocalyptic episodes can be avoided through microdosing — taking very small amounts of cannabis in order to test your response while minimizing undesirable side effects.

In 2017, California placed significant restrictions on the industry, including limits on the amount of THC allowed in edible products. The market should correct this issue beyond the reach of any legislation, as Chuck Smith, co-founder of Dixie Brands states:

“It [microdosing] is a really responsible thing for this industry to do, to provide people with choices on how much cannabis they want to ingest,” says Chuck Smith, co-founder Dixie Brands.

There are plenty of microdose-format edible options available from a variety of cannabis brands. A few 2.5 mg mints can help the novice user ease their way into an enjoyable, manageable experience. But the candy bar issue should not be ignored. Why not make one bar with 15 mg of THC instead of 100? No doubt there is a market study justification that says it is more profitable to load a chocolate bar with 100 mg of THC, but some of these infused bars are too damn delicious to eat only one piece. If we’re going for normal, most people buy a candy bar with the intention of eating the whole thing in a short amount of time — definitely not ideal considering high THC content.

2. For infused dining, consistency is key

James Beard award winners, food truck owners and every class of chef in between are adding cannabis to their dining experiences. Beyond the exciting flavor profiles that pair with dishes like a fine wine, a seasoned infused chef can take diners on a relaxing trip through various dishes, peaks and valleys, alternating THC and CBD for an overall wonderful and memorable experience. Of course the opposite is true for those who don’t prepare the dosing menu with care.

Executive Chef Derek Simcik of the Thompson Hotel in Seattle, WA says, “I’ve always had the chef’s mentality of going low-and-slow. You don’t want them to forget what’s going on and you don’t want them to freak out. When it’s that perfect balance, you did it right.”

Not just for fine dining, infused fast food is on its way to your city. West Coast Ventures Group and Biolog, Inc have introduced Cannasticks, a matchstick sized flavor, CBD and THC delivery system that melts into a burger during the cooking process. In spring of 2019, Illegal Burger locations in the Denver, CO area will introduce CBD infused burgers to their menu.

Jim Nixon, founder of Illegal Burger says, “We enjoy bringing healthy ingredients to our customers, grass fed never-frozen beef, and fresh buns baked daily. Cannasticks give us a great way to introduce the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD to our menu. The pre-dosed format takes out all the guesswork and helps us deliver a consistent, delicious, and healthy product. ”

3. Dosing calculators should get personal

There are many dosing calculators available online. Most work on this simple equation:

For example, if your recipe called for 2 grams of cannabis and the strain you selected had 20% THC per gram, your entire recipe would contain 40mg of THC. Divide that by the number of servings, say 4, each serving would contain 10mg of THC.

While simple and clear, we believe there is room to improve these calculations. The Kitchen Toke App is now being funded on Kickstarter to help people learn how to use cannabis for health and wellness. The app will educate about responsible cannabis use, with proper dosing being an essential objective.

The app will have these specific dosing features:

  1. A library of expertly dosed and tested cannabis recipes
  2. Simplify dosing by weighing the cannabis directly on your mobile device, entering the THC percentage and the number of servings
  3. Capture biofeedback data before and after the meal to keep track of dosing efficacy

The dynamic dosing calculator is only one of many features planned for the app. Find out more on the Kitchen Toke App Kickstarter campaign page.

As the cannabis industry changes at lightning speed in North America, we in the industry must remember the majority of people do not yet have a basic knowledge of the plant. Most people outside legal states have little to no understanding about it, and most of what they know is based in fear and mythology. The industry has room to improve on educating people on responsible use. Helping people understand proper dosing is the perfect place to start.