Understanding THC pills is a bit challenging, mostly because several different medications fall under this umbrella term.
Whole-plant THC pills, isolated THC pills, synthetic THC pills – you get my point. To add to the confusion, THC pills are frequently called THC capsules or softgels.
Potential users may also wonder whether THC pills work the same as edibles, or even if they should be consumed instead of other alternative cannabis administration methods. This, of course, greatly depends on the medical condition that should be treated.
I’ll break down this complex subject matter into a dozen stand-alone subsections. That way you’ll more easily get the complete picture of what THC pills are.
Here we go.
What are THC pills?
There are three main types of THC pills:
- Whole-plant THC pills
- Isolated THC pills
- Synthetic THC pills
Whole-plant THC pills contain many other compounds from cannabis, not just THC. They are the closest thing to a real cannabis plant, only in the form of a pill.
One of the main reasons why cannabis is beneficial for so many conditions and disorders is because each strain of cannabis has over a hundred cannabinoids embedded in its structure.
Cannabinoids have a synergical cooperative effect, which means they have a much more powerful impact when they are working together.
Even though THC is definitely the most abundant cannabinoid in all cannabis varieties, other less prevalent compounds such as CBD, CBG, CBN and many many others contribute to the overall medicinal effect of cannabis.
This cooperative impact of cannabinoids on our health is called the “entourage effect”, and that’s why whole-plant THC pills are much better for you than isolated THC pills, and especially synthetic THC pills.
Isolated THC pills contain only one cannabinoid, which is, of course, the THC. For the creation of these medications the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) compound is separated from the rest of the plant, which results in a generally weaker therapeutic impact.
It’s important to understand that isolated THC pills definitely possess therapeutic properties, but unlike whole-plant THC pills, they lack the “assistance” of minor cannabinoids, which contribute to the healing processes.
Synthetic THC pills also contain only one cannabinoid, but unlike isolated THC pills, their only constituent is a “tweaked” form of THC.
Synthetic THC is lab-made, and even though it is structurally very similar to real THC, it is not the same.
The biggest difference between synthetic and real THC lies in their potency. In addition, these chemical “remixes” of THC are made illegally, and used for the creation of extremely dangerous synthetic weed.
Pharmaceutical synthetic THC is, of course, much better regulated and safer than the illegal “tweaked” THC molecules from synthetic weed, but if you can choose between natural and artificial THC, you should always go for the real thing.
Will THC pills get you high?
They most certainly will.
What greatly differentiates THC pills (besides the whole-plant formulations, isolated THC and synthetic THC division) is the amount of THC in each pill/capsule/softgel.
THC pills are frequently prescribed to people who suffer from serious medical conditions, and because of that some of them contain very large quantities of THC (much more than an average joint).
For instance, some pills contain 2.5 mg, some 5 mg, and some 10 mg of THC.
This determines the intensity of the high, and THC pills with lower THC levels will have a much less intense psychoactive effect.
Are THC pills like edibles?
THC pills are very similar to edibles, primarily because they are absorbed through the stomach.
Just like with edibles (usually when making cannabutter), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in THC pills has to go through the process of decarboxylation in order to become active.
In a nutshell, decarboxylation is a process that transforms THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid found in raw cannabis which cannot fully bind to the receptors of the endocannabinoid system), into regular THC, by heating it using a precise temperature.
When we swallow a pill with THC (the full name of THC is -trans-Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol), THC molecules get dissolved. After they reach the liver, they are metabolized into 11-Hydroxy-THC (full name 11-Hydroxy-Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol).
11-Hydroxy-THC is a more potent variation of the THC molecule, and the effects that it produces are much longer lasting than with regular THC – usually somewhere between 6 to 8 hours.
How Long Does It Take for THC Pills to Kick In
THC pills (pretty much the same as edibles), take anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes to start working.
The onset of cerebral effects depends on whether you take the pill on an empty or full stomach, and, of course, it’s much quicker if you don’t eat anything prior to taking the pill.
For most people it takes about 1 hour to get moderately high on an empty stomach, and about 90 minutes for the full effect of the THC pill.
On a full stomach, it takes an additional 30 minutes (on average), so an hour and a half to get moderately high, and around two hours for the full effect.
Interestingly, some people won’t experience anything for the first couple of times. That’s because their bodies don’t have an adequate amount of endocannabinoid receptors which are essential to feel the high.
The number of these receptors increases when we consume cannabinoids. Therefore, for some users it takes several sessions for their bodies to adapt and create additional receptors, which can then be influenced by THC and other cannabinoids.
How to take THC pills?
It’s a bit difficult to talk about this particular subtopic in a generalized way, but there are some basic guidelines that can be universally applied.
The first tip is to know your dose. As previously mentioned, THC pills usually contain either 2.5 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg of THC in each pill.
A user needs to determine (by trial and error) the perfect quantity, and it’s definitely best to start with lower doses first, and slowly work your way up.
Other aspects to consider include the onset-time, and the duration of effects.
For instance, if you’re using THC pills for pain, you need to determine how much time it takes for the pill to kick in, and precisely how long it lasts.
If you feel the full effect an hour after taking the pill, and the effect lasts for, let’s say, 6 hours, you need to:
- take a new THC pill 5 hours after the full effect of the first pill had happened
By doing this, you will experience a continuous effect that will last throughout the day, but figuring out the exact dosage and the time in-between pills is totally up to you.
How long do THC pills last?
If you bought your THC pills from a reputable manufacturer, always check the “best by” date on the packaging.
Following a couple of guidelines ensures that the quality of the product will remain top-notch:
- Avoid heat. Keep the THC pills in a place where there are no nearby heat sources.
- Avoid light. Sunlight speeds up the degradation of THC, so store the pills in a dark cabinet/drawer/fridge.
- Avoid oxygen. Keeping your THC pills in an air-tight container will additionally maintain the quality of your product.
Where are THC pills legal?
Pills that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are legal across Canada for both medical and recreational purposes.
In the US, THC pills are available in the states where recreational use is allowed (for adults), but also in the states where only medical cannabis is approved.
Where can I get THC pills?
THC pills can be purchased either from licensed producers (only in Canada), or in dispensaries (in both Canada and the US).
Ensuring the quality of the product is essential, so always make sure you’re getting your THC pills from a reputable and well-trusted producer.
All Canadian licensed producers (also known as LP’s) go through rigorous testing which completely ensures the quality of their product.
If you’re buying THC pills from a dispensary, you can always ask your local budtender for advice, and, of course, perform your due diligence online (by checking out their website, read comments on their products, and so forth).
How much do THC pills cost?
The price of a THC pill packaging depends on the potency (the amount of THC in each pill), and on how many pills are in the pack.
For instance, a package of 60 pills (2.5 mg of THC in each pill), costs around 28 USD (38 CAD).
On the other hand, a package of 60 pills (10 mg of THC in each pill) is slightly more expensive, around 33 USD (45 CAD).
The prices can vary from region to region, and this is just an approximation.
Can THC pills be detected?
Yes, they can be detected in a heartbeat.
Every type of THC pill (as the name suggests) contains considerable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol.
If your employer requires regular cannabis checkups, you need to know that the THC pills will certainly be detected after a test.
The exception to this rule are synthetic THC pills, which contain dronabinol, the artificial cannabinoid which is very similar to tetrahydrocannabinol.
How long do THC pills stay in your system?
How long THC stays in the system depends on a number of factors (including body fat percentage and urine THC metabolite levels), and the detection of THC also greatly depends on the exact type of test.
THC testing is a really complex topic, so if you’re concerned about getting busted, I suggest you read our in-depth article on how long weed stays in our system.
What do THC pills look like?
Whether they are homemade or purchased from a trusted producer, THC pills always contain some type of oil (usually coconut, vegetable or olive oil).
The oil is used to “carry” the finely grinded decarboxylated cannabis, and it also speeds up the absorption of THC.
We’ll discuss this additionally in the next chapter of the article, but it’s important to mention here that a lot of pictures on the web show THC pills like capsules filled with actual weed buds.
These images are merely artistic renditions of THC pills, and are 100% false.
How to make THC pills?
Making THC pills isn’t too difficult, but it definitely isn’t easy. Creating your pills from scratch gives you the opportunity to use your favorite buds (or concentrates), which is something you just can’t get with purchased THC pills.
The most complicated part is figuring out the math so each pill has the desired levels of THC, so this is what we’ll focus on first.
Each capsule (that you’re going to fill with THC-infused oil) can take 0.5 mL (milliliter).
For instance, you want each pill to contain 10 mg of THC, and the cannabis that you’re going to use is 20% THC.
One gram is 1000 mg, and if the weed has 20% THC, that cannabis has 200 mg of THC in one gram.
This means that you can make 20 pills (10 mg of THC each) with that one gram of weed.
Here is another example.
You want to make 15 mg THC pills, and you have some buds that have 15% THC.
One gram is 1000 mg, and if the weed has 15% THC, that cannabis has 150 mg of THC in one gram.
This means that you can make 10 pills (15 mg of THC each) with that one gram of weed.
This can also be used for concentrates like BHO, rosin, shatter and wax. The only important thing is to know how much THC is in them, so you can easily calculate how much concentrate you need.
Now that we’re done with the math, we can move on to the actual making of THC pills.
You’ll be needing:
- Cannabis (or concentrate)
- Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) coconut oil (best option)
- Scale (with milligram measurements)
- Measuring cup (with milligram measurements)
- Measuring spoon (with milligram measurements)
- 10 cc syringe (or a dripper)
- Cellulose (or gelatin) capsules
- Oven mitts
Preheat the oven to 250°F, and once it reaches the temperature, place your weed (in an aluminum-covered bowl) for 25 to 30 minutes.
The heat will decarboxylate the cannabis, and you’re ready for the next step. Once your weed has cooled off, finely grind it into a powder.
If you’re using concentrates for THC pills, they require more time to decarb (around 1 hour), with a slightly lower temperature (240°F).
Place your concentrate on the center of a parchment paper, and make sure to leave some room around because it will slightly spread from melting (or you can use a glass cup). After decarbing, leave it to cool at room temperature.
Since you’re making 20 pills, and each of them can hold 0.5 ml of liquid, this means you’ll be needing 10 ml of coconut oil, in which you’ll infuse the decarbed weed.
Using the lowest possible heat on your stove, combine your weed with the coconut oil and stir.
It’s best to use a slow burner (also known as the crock-pot).
The mixture should be kept on low heat for 3 to 6 hours (so the weed can be completely infused with the oil).
If you’re using concentrates, it takes much shorter than that (you can stop when you see that the concentrate completely dissolved in the oil).
Once you’re finished with this step, leave the infusion to cool off at room temperature, and later on collect the oil with a syringe (or a dripper), and fill up your capsules.
I would also advise you to watch some video tutorials on this topic, since it’s pretty complicated.
Where to store THC pills?
The best way to preserve the quality of your THC pills is to store them in the fridge, and, of course, avoid exposing them to any heat, light and oxygen (keep the pills in an airtight bottle/container).
Can you smoke THC pills?
Since the weed in THC pills is already decarboxylated (the decarbing also happens when we smoke/vape weed), smoking THC pills would be an overkill.
THC pills are also oil-based, so smoking them is pretty much impossible.
Because of their prolonged effects, THC pills are excellent for people with conditions that require continuous relief, such as insomnia, chronic pain, arthritis, depression, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, and many more.
They are also a much healthier way to consume cannabis (compared to smoking).
If there’s anything you’re confused about, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out.
Glenn Martin January 18, 2020 at 4:38 am
Which THC pills will help more with nausea for an individual who has had chronic IBS for many years and many times gets nauseous after eating ... Mostly THC pills ..THC/CBD mixed 1-1 .. or THC pills with even more CBD....thank you
Marco Medic January 20, 2020 at 9:59 am
Dear Glenn, for an in-depth look on IBS and cannabis please check out this article of ours - https://greencamp.com/ibs-and-marijuana/
Amy Anderson February 17, 2020 at 6:13 am
Very informative. Was really confused when I was hearing different people discussing about THC pills. This article really helps to bring some clarity over the matter. Really surprised that CBD oil does not contain any THC.
Marco Medic February 18, 2020 at 9:20 am
Thanks Amy 😉
Elizabeth Willett February 20, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Discover magazine has this article. https://www.discovermagazine.com/mind/the-experiments-revealing-how-marijuana-could-treat-dementia?utm_source=Yesmail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=News0_DSC_200220_000000 How much THC should I take to not get high, just to be enough for this?
Marco Medic February 20, 2020 at 4:17 pm
Hey Elizabeth, check out our dosing guide, and give the lowest dose a shot. https://greencamp.lpages.co/dosage-ebook-greencamp/
Dante February 23, 2020 at 5:18 am
Bought pills from GetZen. 10mg a pill, it's split 6mg THCa, 4mg THC. What is THCa?
Marco Medic February 25, 2020 at 10:05 am
Hey Dante, THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) is the raw, uncarboxylated form of THC, which has different therapeutic properties compared to THC. For more info on raw cannabinoids check out - https://greencamp.com/raw-cannabis/ Also, to understand the process of decarboxylation please read - https://greencamp.com/decarboxylation/
Rachel Brown March 7, 2020 at 5:54 am
where do I buy capsules?
Marco Medic March 9, 2020 at 11:16 am
This greatly depends on where you live. THC pills are available for purchase in Canada, and in US states which legalized recreational cannabis. You can also acquire them in US states that have a medical cannabis program, but you need a medical cannabis card (for a specific medical condition).
Lorrie Beauchamp March 12, 2020 at 4:52 pm
Thanks for all the information; very helpful. Two questions: I want to consume only natural-based THC, not synthetic. How can I tell which is which? The online dispensaries do not specify, I was hoping you could recommend a few trusted brands. Also, I need to address my tolerance issues, and was wondering if you have any recommendations. I started two years ago with daily THC to manage anxiety. Works like a charm! But I'm now consuming 250 daily (evenings only) with very little effect. High-dosage pills are not available in Canada, so I buy low-dose but there is a cost factor, obviously, as it's getting expensive. I know some people go on a "break" to bring things back to zero, does that really work? Or will I just continue to develop tolerance?
Marco Medic March 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm
Hey Lorrie, for anxiety in particular, I would advise you to try using CBD instead of THC, because this cannabinoid offers greater beneficiality for this condition. It's also much easier to find plant-based CBD compared to THC, and you can also switch between CBD and THC to avoid tolerance. Hempvidaplus.com is a great organic producer of CBD oils and capsules, and for THC pills, I would suggest brokencoastrx.com
Mary October 19, 2020 at 5:43 pm
I’ve been smoking for awhile and I have copd also. I bought some capsules that were 10 mgs each. I took a couple, then 4 more and I didn’t feel anything. Can I take 10 capsules at one and be ok?
Marco Medic October 20, 2020 at 9:34 am
That's pretty strange. Have you acquired the pills from a trusted producer? As for the safety part of the question, it's possible that you'll feel unpleasant if you ingest too much THC, but it shouldn't be dangerous in any way.
KanehbosemHi March 26, 2020 at 2:43 am
Your calculations are way off. 500mg equals 1/2 gram. Not 50 mgs as you stated. Your formula is wrong as well 👎🏼
Marco Medic March 26, 2020 at 11:38 am
You're absolutely right, thank you for pointing it out. I've edited that entire section, thanks again :)
John Carroll April 23, 2020 at 1:31 am
Marco Medic April 23, 2020 at 9:17 am
I made a mistake while writing, and he pointed it out. I've corrected everything, so don't worry about it :)
ed KURZYNSKI March 27, 2020 at 5:56 am
Thank you very informative
Connor D April 28, 2020 at 2:09 am
Hey! If I'm wanting to make the pills stronger, what math would I need to figure them out? I was thinking of doing the 15mg per 10 pills, but I would love to go stronger if possible! My weed is somewhere between 15-20%, and I want to use 00 size capsules. Thank you in advance!
Connor D April 28, 2020 at 2:16 am
Actually I can use size 0 capsules too, if thats better.
Marco Medic April 28, 2020 at 9:11 am
Hey Connor, if you're using cannabis with 15%THC, with one gram of weed you can make 10 pills with 15mg of THC each. On the other hand, if your weed is 20%THC, you can make 10 pills (each with 20mg of THC) with one gram. Also, size 0 capsules will be just fine.
Sparky Banks May 26, 2020 at 1:02 am
Hello fellow cannabis enthusiasts, if someone can please explain to me if I'm doing this correctly. so i have 000 size caps, i have flower that is roughly 15% THC based off looks & smell, and some concentrate that's definitely 75-80% my goal is to have 2 sets 50 capsule batches without losing any of the potency; Any formulas, or methods for me to have my habit well stocked up?
Marie Tunstill October 9, 2020 at 6:38 pm
I've been a long time cannabis smoker, I'm looking for capsules or pills with THC, but not sure how potent they are. Need to stop smoking because if Copd. Looking for advice please and Thanks
Marco Medic October 19, 2020 at 11:44 am
Hey Marie, it's probably best to start with lower-potency THC pills, and see how they affect you. Once you're familiar with the effect they produce, you can gradually increase the dosage.
Kera January 6, 2021 at 9:50 pm
Question and I can’t really find the answer anywhere else. I’m told that the capsules of CBD and THC is what produces a bigger high, so then what do the capsules do alone with just THC? I use them to sleep. I’ve only tried the ones with CBD added to the THC. Definitely new to the cannabis family so not sure who to trust or listen to besides just doing my own trial and error, which gets costly and I don’t want to waste it either. BTW, in Canada and it’s legal to use here(for those who question it)
Marco Medic January 8, 2021 at 12:17 pm
Hey Kera, that's not really accurate. Capsules with only THC should produce a more potent high compared to the ones that have both THC and CBD, since the presence of cannabidiol (CBD) counteracts the psychoactivity caused by THC. But, if you're using them for sleep both types of capsules can be beneficial, and which are better suited for you depends on how cannabis affects you personally. What are your experiences with the ones that have both CBD and THC?
Marino May 24, 2021 at 6:01 pm
Can you tell me the difference between RSO capsules and THC capsules. I have severe insomnia and am considering buying capsules. Thank you
Marco Medic June 4, 2021 at 8:15 am
Hey Marino, RSO capsules contain other constituents of the cannabis plants (such as other cannabinoids like CBD, and also terpenes), while THC pills only contain tetrahydrocannabinol. For insomnia, you'd probably be better off trying RSO capsules in my opinion.
Anna August 8, 2021 at 9:35 am
Is it better to take fish oil with thc pills? Does this help them break down? Also do I take them on an empty or full tummy? Thanks
Marco Medic August 12, 2021 at 11:17 am
Hi Anna, I haven't found any research which suggests that fish oil helps with the breakdown, but I doubt that it can interfere with it either. As for whether you should consume THC pills on an empty stomach, the onset of effects will occur more rapidly on an empty stomach, but it's probably smarter not to consume them on a stomach completely devoid of nutrients.
Chris Ruthven September 1, 2021 at 8:50 pm
Your hot Marco.
Marco Medic September 5, 2021 at 9:31 am
Much obliged Chris.
Emily September 3, 2021 at 3:14 am
I'm just more than a bit confused as to the dispo listings. For instance, why are these different. Motor Breath #15 [10pk] (500mg) RSO [10pk] (50mg) It really doesn't give me a clue as it's priced exactly the same. How can that be? Of course, I'm referring to the Grassroots company.
Marco Medic September 5, 2021 at 9:30 am
Hey Emily, RSO is a type of cannabis concentrate, which means it contains a much greater quantity of cannabinoids compared to a regular strain of cannabis, and this of course also makes it more expensive. For more info on RSO please check out this article - https://greencamp.com/rick-simpson-oil/
Roy September 18, 2022 at 5:11 am
I have an upper motor neuron disease which I suffer from non stop spasticity in my muscles. I have the full amount of anti spasm medication that you can take and was still having to go to bed every night with ice packs to numb the muscle pain. recently starting using 10 mg thc capsules an hour before bed and so far have not had to use ice packs hooray!!!!!! Would recomend highly.... sure get a bit of a buzz but sure beats the agonizing pain. I sure hope this helps others reading this. Cheers,