how to test thc content in edibles

How to Test THC Content in Edibles

“How can I calculate the THC levels of my cannabis edible?” This question is often asked by medical marijuana users. As there is no general estimated amount for a single marijuana bud, so with any cannabis edible’s THC content. It gets more complicated with the process of incorporating cannabis into edibles. For a space cake, for example, how can you exactly tell the THC content in one serving? How to test THC content in edibles? Even commercial companies have difficulty with it. However, even though it’s not easy, we can still find ways to best determine the closest estimate of an edible’s THC level.

How to Test THC Content in Edibles: A Complicated Process

First, let’s consider the complicated process. There is an industry-standard technique to calculate compound levels in a particular sample. We call it the HPLC or High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. It is a powerful method of determining the number of compounds in a sample by observing or analyzing how the sample behaves under pressure water (with fine granules of silica or polymer). HPLC separates compounds or purifies them based on their polarity, or their activity in water. This method is supposedly fast and precise and is being used all over the world, across different fields.

How the compounds interact with the water under pressure determines their amount. But, as is the usual concern of testing labs, testing cannabis edibles causes problems with the HPLC machine. Due to the stickiness of edible ingredients (such as sugar, gelatin, fat, etc.), the sample might damage the HPLC machine. Furthermore, to get the whole THC content in a sample edible, dissolving it into a solvent would be necessary. However, it does not always mean you will be able to dissolve your sample wholly. THC loss should be expected since some of the samples — let’s say, a piece of cannabis candy — will not always be dissolved, which still contain THC contents.

Further, there are also other methods such as flash chromatography and cryo-milling. They are being developed, but at this time, still too new. We’re not going to delve too much into that, but suffice it to say that testing cannabis edibles can be very difficult, expensive, and complicated. Even researchers and laboratories experience this difficulty. Indeed, not all cannabis edibles contain the same amounts, even in the same batch, let’s say, of brownies. In evaluating a sample, we also have to factor in key components, such as cannabinoid content of the source, terpene profile, and human error.

Studies on Edible Labels

Shockingly, some research has discovered that 60% of cannabinoid-containing products have contents below the values stated in their labels. On the other hand, 23% of products have a higher content than the labels indicate. And this is no light matter. Either medical marijuana patients will not get enough dose they need, or they will get a dose higher than what they need.

Preparing the Mind and the Atmosphere

One way to properly administer cannabis edibles is by evaluating and considering underlying conditions. What do we mean by that? Since no one can deny the fact that there is great difficulty in measuring precisely the THC content in edibles, we should then consider the “man” who will take the cannabis and the location where the intake will take place.

Being in a very anxious or terrifying situation can certainly affect your cannabis experience. That is true both to smoking weed and eating edibles. Also, consider your history of using cannabis. What was the outcome when took cannabis edibles during a time of stress, sadness, or happiness? Did the edible amplified your emotions or altered them? These questions can guide you in considering whether to take cannabis edible in the first place, or whether you will limit yourself with the minimum edible. Further, consider the location and atmosphere of where you will eat edibles. Will you be with trusted friends in a house or with a lot of people at a party? A positive atmosphere can significantly affect your experience.

Remember, cannabinoids are chemicals that will be processed in your body. This process is affected by a person’s mood, current health condition, the recent food you ate, and many more. Take note of the person and the setting, preparing the mental condition and physical location.

Further Advice

We advise to first have very low dosages of cannabis edibles if it is your first time to experience weed edibles. Always divide the recommended serving by four. Wait for an hour and a half after eating the first cut before you take the next one. Edibles can be creepers, apparently not potent but suddenly kicks afterward. You might find yourself being too high in the end.

This is where you will decide. Will you eat more or decide to limit yourself with just enough bites? This self-experimentation, step by step way of ingesting cannabis edibles are very safe and experience-based and relies not only on numbers but on the actual manifestation of cannabis effect on you. Besides, the effects of THC vary from person to person. So testing the potency of edibles in actual, through small amounts, is a great method for the average consumers. Take note, literally, in paper or phone the experience, amounts, and the details of each session.

Make your Edibles

One of several ways to best assess your edible’s potency is to do the preparation yourself. If the cannabis used has a clear cannabinoid profile, and the ingredients are properly measured, getting a near accurate measurement of potency is highly possible. Of course, slight variations are to be expected from one recipe to another, having a personal oversight on the entire process says a lot.

There is no way to make perfect cannabis edibles since their potency differs from each individual and can only be observed in an actual cannabis experience. Nevertheless, there are tips to take note of when making your homemade edibles. Against the common belief that a cup of cannabis butter is ½ ounce of marijuana, lipids in oil could only bind to so many THC or cannabinoids. Any excess is wasted. A 1:1 butter-cannabis ratio will do. Hence, do not put in too much weed.

Another tip: decarboxylation is very important so do not forget it. Before cooking, make sure that you have decarboxylated your weed. Decarboxylation is a process of turning THCA (non-effecting) to THC (effecting). Non- decarboxylated weed tastes bad, too.


There are basic calculations to use when preparing homemade cannabis edible. Over the internet, there are also cannabis edible calculators. Moreover, there are compact machines now that claims to measure THC content in an edible with accuracy. The question, how to test THC content in edibles is easy to answer. But to have an access to those methods and equipment can be difficult. Still, the best way is to pace yourself, take edibles in small portions, cautiously experiment, and take note of the experience.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *