When you smoke weed, it is wise to know how much THC – the psychoactive compound in cannabis – you are consuming at any one time. There are a multitude of ways to use cannabis, and although smoking a joint or using a bowl are the ‘traditional’ methods, an increasing number of people are dabbing.
However, measuring the amount of THC you consume is very difficult. What you get from a joint is NOT the same as what you’d consume via dabs, for example. And of course, the type of strain is immensely important when it comes to overall THC levels.
In this guide, we attempt to make things a little easier by outlining the approximate amount of THC in a bowl, a dab, and a standard joint.
Before we begin, though, it is important to note that while the method you use has a major impact on how much THC gets into your system, other factors to consider include a person’s lung capacity, weight, size, overall health, and even their personal preference on how they inhale.
How Many Mg of THC in a Dab? We Have the Answer
Overall, those who dab THC will receive a higher amount of the cannabinoid because they are dabbing concentrates. It is normal for a concentrate such as wax or shatter to contain at least 70% THC, and the highest THC dabs on the market can contain well over 90%. (Bear in mind that only a few strains you’ll smoke in a joint contain more than 25% THC).
On the downside, it isn’t easy to calculate the amount of wax you use each time you dab, so it may be worth investing in an accurate weighing scale. Let’s say you use a 0.5 g dab which has a THC content of 70% (most dabs are either 1-gram or 0.5 g). The wax has 0.35 g (350 mg of THC), but you could lose up to one-third of it when vaporizing. If this happens, you’ll end up with roughly 235 mg of THC per hit (if you can finish the whole dab in one hit).
In truth, there is no specific “formula” to use when trying to figure out how much THC is in a dab – several factors come into play.
Whatever the specific percent level is, however, respect the potency of the dab! Imagine purchasing a smokable marijuana strain with 18% THC. 1 gram would equate to 180mg of THC. If you purchase a 90% THC dab, you’d only need 200mg to achieve the same level of consumption of the psychoactive compound.
Moreover, as you take in more of it per hit, the effect is magnified; if you consume 180mg of THC quickly, you will quickly regret that decision — trust us.
How Many Mg of THC in a Bowl?
The mg of THC in a bowl really only depends on two things: how big the bowl is, and what the THC content of the strain you’re smoking is. Of course, the amount of weed you fit in a bowl will also depend on how tightly you pack it, along with the maximum capacity of the bowl itself.
As such, in order to provide you with a decent overview of the mg amount of THC that’s in a marijuana bowl, we’ll have to make a couple of assumptions: namely, the percentage of THC that’s in the weed you’re smoking, and the size of the bowl you’re using.
A normal, standard-sized bowl will contain right around 0.25 grams of weed. So let’s say you purchased decent quality weed with a THC content of 18%. Remember, one gram of weed equates to roughly 180mg THC. Some experts believe that you will lose up to 60% during combustion (more on that later), but had there been no loss whatsoever, you would have 45 mg of THC in your bowl.
As you only consumed about 40% of that amount due to burning, though, your bowl likely has around 18mg of actual THC that’s making it into your body. Of course, these are rough estimations but you can already see the pattern here: in terms of the amount of THC in a dab vs a bowl, the dab is going to be a much more potent option.
How Much THC is in a Joint?
When it comes to calculating how many mg of THC there are in a joint, you encounter the same issues as you do with both dabs and bowls.
You need to consider the potency of the weed, the loss of THC due to combustion, and the size of the joint you roll, among other factors.
If you lost half of the THC due to burning, for example, a 1-gram joint rolled with 18% THC weed would enable you to consume roughly 90mg of THC.
To be honest, the above may be a little over-simplistic, but we felt it necessary to provide an easy-to-digest overview of THC consumption. According to a study published on the UK Cannabis Internet Activists website in 1990, anywhere between 40% and 50% of THC is lost when smoking joints – less than when you use a bowl, but more than when you dab.
Therefore, a marijuana strain with 20% THC offers 200mg per gram, but you will inhale a maximum of 120mg (assuming you ‘only’ lose 40%). There is also a major difference in how much weed is contained in an average joint. Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post suggested that a joint contains 0.32 grams of marijuana, and this analysis was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2016.
The “THC Dosage” Formula
As a result, we can multiply 0.32 by 120 mg to end up with 38.4mg of THC per joint, in a “best-case scenario.” However, it has also been suggested that 0.75 grams is a popular joint size; in this case, your joint would have a whopping 90mg of THC (after you account for combustion losses).
While this may not seem too over-complicated, we’re not done yet! When your joint is burning, THC condenses towards its end, which means the first half of your joint is less potent than the second half. In other words, the first half of the joint may have 40 mg of THC, while the second half could have 50mg or more.
Chart Comparing THC Content of Joints vs. Bowls vs. Dabs
Below you’ll find a convenient table showcasing the amount of THC that’s in a joint vs a bowl vs a dab. Be advised however that this table is for estimation purposes only! Depending on the potency of weed you’re using and the size of the joint your smoking (or the size of the bowl/dab), you could get a very different THC content. We tried to use what is considered an “average” size for each of the three consumption methods. That is, a 0.32 g joint, a 0.25 g bowl, and a 0.5 g (500 mg) dab.
TABLE: HOW MUCH THC IN A JOINT VS. A BOWL VS. A DAB
|CONSUMPTION METHOD||POTENCY||TOTAL THC CONTENT (%)|
|Joint (0.32 g of flower)||20%||38.4 mg|
|Bowl (0.25 g of flower)||18%||45 mg|
|Dab (0.5 g of wax concentrate)||70%||~235 mg|
Bowl vs. Joint vs. Dab THC Content: Wrapping it All Up
Overall, it’s pretty obvious that dabbing provides you with the most THC per gram, but it is far more expensive than dry herb. The enormous amount of THC contained in dabs means that it is ultra-potent, and is not suitable for beginners. Dab rigs are designed with this potency in mind, which means you use far less wax than dry herb.
All in all, regardless of whether you are a smoker, dabber, or vaper, you should always be aware of the amount of THC you’re consuming per session. Hospital visits from people who have freaked out after consuming too much THC have spiked in recent years, but if you know what you’re getting into before you fire up, you can most certainly avoid this.
DID YOU KNOW: Anywhere between 40% and 50% of THC is lost when smoking a joint? This is less than a bowl, but more than a dab.
And of course, THC consumption will also depend massively on your particular tolerance level. Always begin with the smallest possible amount, and work your way up accordingly. (This is why edibles can be so dangerous for beginners, as there’s often no real way to tell how much THC you’re consuming).
Lastly, we have not even discussed the act of vaporizing dry herb, which could provide an increase in THC of up to 20% when compared to smoking a joint! You can vaporize both dry herb and dabs/wax, though the latter is consumed the majority of the time (although some users like to sprinkle some wax into their joints or bowls for an extra THC-laden boost).