June 15, 2021
8 mins read
Cannabis Edibles Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Some cannabis consumers are turning away from the traditional methods of smoking and vaping to avoid the harshness of inhalation. If you’re looking to get the medicinal benefits of cannabis without smoking, edibles are a great alternative!
Most people think of the age-old “pot brownie” when edibles come to mind, but the industry has come a long way. Now you can find edibles in many different varieties, like gummies, ice pops, cookies, ice cream, and even THC-infused drinks.
First-time consumers may have many questions about how to get the best and safest experience out of their edibles. We created this helpful guide sharing everything you need to know about edibles.
What are Cannabis Edibles?
To put it simply, cannabis edibles are any food product infused with cannabis.
The medicinal effect of edibles comes from the added cannabis-infused oil, or “cannabutter,” as it’s often called. This oil contains “activated cannabis,” meaning that the plant material has been heated enough to give the user a psychoactive effect if consumed orally. This comes once the edible is digested and then metabolized by the liver, sending cannabinoids to the brain and allowing the consumer to feel the effects of THC and CBD.
Edibles come in a wide variety of forms, flavors, and potencies. Generally, a stronger edible will have more of a cannabis taste due to its higher THC content. If you’re looking to mask the taste of cannabis, try eating an edible product that has a strong flavor profile, like chocolate or a gummy.
Benefits of Cannabis Edibles
Consuming cannabis edibles as an alternative to smoking cannabis flower has many benefits, whether you’re looking to use them recreationally or medicinally.
The most attractive feature of edibles is their overall convenience. Small, compact, and odorless, they’re a perfect choice for anyone looking to get their dose on the go. If you’re in an area where smoking is prohibited, edibles are a great way to use cannabis without raising any suspicion. Why worry about being caught with cannabis when it’s been baked into a chocolate chip cookie?
The discrete nature of edibles also makes them an excellent tool for anyone with a medical condition that prevents them from inhaling smoke. A THC-infused drink, for example, delivers a perfectly measured dose of cannabis, unlike smoking a joint with cannabis flower. It also gives the user a more substantial body high, which can be an excellent remedy for chronic muscle or joint pain.
How Will Edibles Affect Me?
To understand more about how edibles will affect you, it’s important to know about bioavailability, which is a fancy word for how your body processes different edibles. Specifically, it means “the degree and rate at which an administered drug is absorbed by the body’s circulatory system.” This will be different for everyone, as all of our bodies are different. Here are just some of the factors that alter bioavailability:
- Food and drug interactions
- The health of your gastrointestinal tract
- Sleep patterns
There are two main types of edibles, and sampling both will help you know which is best for you.
First, there’s gastrointestinal absorption, where the infused products are broken down and absorbed through the intestinal tract. Many of the cookies and drinks and dried fruit edibles are gastrointestinally absorbed, meaning you have to chew and swallow these foods to introduce them into your system through the gut. These edibles usually have a slower onset of effects due to the time it takes for them to pass through your intestinal linings.
Second, there’s sublingual absorption, where the infused product is absorbed directly into your bloodstream through your permeable oral cavity. These are products like oral sprays, lozenges or hard candies, and tinctures. Our mouth contains many permeable membranes, especially under the tongue, which is what makes sublingual absorption so effective and fast-acting. Oral sublingual absorption will deliver a quicker onset of effects versus gastrointestinal absorption.
Types of Cannabis Edibles
Infused drinks are very popular right now. They come in a variety of flavors and styles and can be both sublingually and gastrointestinally absorbed. Choose from fruity sweet drinks to complex soda flavors, and even infused non-alcoholic beers and wines. Drink them straight up, over ice, or over ice cream. How does an infused root beer float sound? You can even find infused teas and coffees to start your day off right.
Tinctures are sublingual absorption and topical products and are among the most fast-acting and versatile edibles on the market. Not only can you ingest them orally, under the tongue is best, you can also apply them topically. Back pain or hand cramps? A few drops of Mary’s Medicinal applied directly to the problem area can offer considerable relief. Some women even apply tinctures to their feminine hygiene products to offer targeted menstrual symptom relief. You can also introduce tinctures into your own homemade foods, providing you with endless edible options.
compose the bulk of edibles on dispensary shelves, and you’ll find a huge selection. One of the most common solid edibles is infused chocolate. From dark to milk, with all kinds of mix-ins and flavors, chocolates are a sweet way to eat your cannabis. If sweets aren’t your thing, try some delicious infused beef jerky, dried fruit, or use tinctures to infuse your favorite foods at home.
Sprays and Inhalers
Knowing that sublingual absorption is faster and can be more bioavailable, manufacturers are creating new edible products specifically designed for absorption through the palate. Oral sprays are highly condensed edibles that offer a quicker onset of effects, without having to consume foodstuffs. Many health-conscious consumers turn to sprays and inhalers to get the benefits of oral consumption, without all the extra sugars and calories.
Powders And Dissolvables
Like tinctures, powders and dissolvables offer the benefits of edibles on your dietary terms. Most dissolvables are flavorless and odorless, letting you introduce them into whatever product you prefer. Stir them into water for a zero-calorie edible option or sprinkle them into your famous chocolate chip cookie batter to make your own infused cookies. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Do Edibles Take Longer?
Cannabis edibles are processed through the digestive system and liver, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours for any medicinal or psychoactive effects to be felt. Smoking cannabis flower, on the other hand, gets to the brain much faster and can give the user a high within minutes.
Even though edibles can take much longer to become active, they give the user a much longer dose. They’re used frequently as a medicinal pain relief supplement for this reason, with effects lasting up to eight hours. First-time edible consumers need to keep this difference in mind and consider waiting at least 2-3 hours before eating that second THC gummy.
How Many Cannabis Edibles Should I Eat?
Figuring out the correct dose of cannabis edibles can be difficult to calculate, with variables such as weight and metabolism affecting the potency and length of your high. You can find products varying in different strengths, but generally, the “standard” dose of edibles is 10mg of THC.
However, if you’re new to cannabis and are trying edibles for the first time, it’s recommended to start with a smaller dose. Try an edible with a slightly weaker potency, maybe around 5mg, and gauge how it affects you.
Because the effects of edibles are much stronger and last a long time, taking too many by accident can lead to an unpredictable high and, in some cases, cause paranoia.
Even though you may have heard of some scary stories involving edibles, taking a few safety precautions can eliminate the anxiety and ensure you have a great experience.
Here are a few things to remember when consuming edibles:
- Inexperienced edible users should start with a lower dose (5-10mg of THC)
- Edibles take much longer to interact with the bloodstream, so wait at least 90 minutes to feel an effect before eating any more.
- If you end up taking too much, try getting some fresh air, laying down in bed, or even eating a few peppercorn balls. They’re known to help reduce THC anxiety.
Overall, edibles are an excellent way to feel the benefits of cannabis without the damaging effects of smoke inhalation.
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