Consuming cannabis as a beginner can often be an exciting yet overwhelming task. And while smoking or vaping tends to offer a fairly level playing field, eating cannabis edibles is a whole ‘nother beast as there are far more variables at play. Perhaps you’ve heard a horror story about someone eating a pot brownie, getting far too stoned, and ending up in some sort of existential crisis.
The team at CannaDish does not want this to happen to you.
When done right, edibles can be a fantastic way to achieve your desired cannabis effects. Read on for our ultimate guide to eating cannabis edibles for the very first time.
How Edibles Are Made
Cannabis foods and beverages are typically crafted in one of two ways (no, it’s not as simple as tossing some bud into your Cesar salad or brownie mix). The first way is using cannabis-infused butter or oil, which is made by slow-cooking raw cannabis flower at low temperatures for several hours. During this time, the active ingredients in the flower bind to the fats in the oil or butter. Eventually, the spent plant material is separated and the resulting liquid is used in recipes as normal.
The other way to make edibles is via THC or CBD distillate, which is a concentrated form of the active ingredient(s) in cannabis. Distillates are essentially isolated cannabinoids and do not contain the “full spectrum” of terpenes and other active compounds commonly found in marijuana. THC distillate has become an increasingly popular ingredient in edibles as they are basically flavorless, allowing culinary masters to create complex recipes free from any lingering weed aromas.
Why Do People Eat Edibles?
Aside from being delicious, eating cannabis is a great option for a variety of reasons. Folks who do not wish to inhale marijuana smoke or vapor find edibles to be an efficient alternative. Infused foods and drinks also tend to have longer lasting effects because they enter the bloodstream via the liver as opposed to the lungs. Edibles are also more discreet than firing up a doobie; in fact, dosing may be as simple as popping a 2.5mg mint in place of your traditional after dinner Altoid!
How Do Edibles Work
As mentioned above, the cannabinoids within edibles are absorbed into the body via the digestive tract and liver. During this time, enzymes convert THC to 11-hydroxy-THC, a more potent varietal that is responsible for edibles’ more intense high. While breathing in cannabis smoke or vapor leads to onset of effects in moments, infused food and drink can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours depending on metabolism.
Start Low and Go Slow
Knowing that edibles can take a while to kick in, it’s important to keep the old adage, “Start low, go slow” in the back of your mind. While most cannabis edibles on the market come divided into 10mg doses, it’s recommended that weed newbies stick with 5 or less. If after 90 minutes there are no effects, another dose can be taken. And again, metabolism makes a big difference in how fast edibles will kick in so people with slower metabolic outputs will want to wait longer to eat more than those with fast systems.
Sativa vs Indica
The cultivar of cannabis (aka strain) used in the edible definitely matters when it comes to how they will make you feel. Sativas tend to offer a more euphoric and uplifting experience than an indica, which is often referred to as “in-da-couch” due to its relaxing and sedative effects. Hybrids bring together the best of both worlds and are the most common cultivars on the market. Some edibles makers are starting to offer “experience specific” products as opposed to strain specific, meaning a cookie may be called “Energize” versus listing a Sativa-dominant strain like Lemon Haze.
Take Too Much? All is Not Lost
It is impossible to literally overdose on cannabis, but getting way too high off edibles is a thing. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable state due to over-consumption, there are steps you can take to ease the tension. Eating black peppercorn is a popular natural remedy as it contains high levels of the terpene caryophyllene, which is known for its anti-anxiety effects. Taking a high dose of CBD may also quell any uneasy feelings.
DIY Edibles – an Inexpensive Option
Making cannabis-infused snacks and meals at home has a history as old as the plant itself, but 21st century technology along with marijuana legalization has made it easier than ever. Plus the wider availability of unique cultivars and lesser-known cannabinoids (such as THC-A, CBG, and CBN) means that anyone can create their perfect cannabis experience right from the comfort of their abode (check out CannaDish’s complete guide to cooking with cannabis for more!).
Stay Safe, Have Fun
Cannabis edibles are an easy and discreet way to consume cannabis, offering a different type of buzz than an old-fashioned joint or bong rip. Understanding the way they work, how to properly dose, and what to do if things get out of hand will ensure an enjoyable experience from the get-go. Now bust out that THC-infused rice krispy treat or lemonade and have a blast!