A Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Edibles: How to Start, What to Expect, and 7 Tips to Stay Safe
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Cannabis edibles have been around for centuries. The earliest edible products were made from cannabis-infused tinctures in the 1800s. These tinctures were added to food and drinks to make them more potent. In the early 1900s, cannabis-infused substances such as oils and waxes were developed, enabling manufacturers to produce various edible products.
Cannabis edibles today are food products made with ingredients infused with either tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), two active compounds in the cannabis plant. If you’re looking for a discreet and convenient way to consume cannabis, edibles offer an attractive option.
Depending on your preference, various edible products are available, from brownies to beverages, mints, and more. By the end of this guide, you should better understand cannabis edibles and how they may affect your body differently than other forms of consumption.
We’ll also discuss potential health considerations and tips on choosing the right edible product for your needs. Let’s get started!
What Is a Cannabis Edible?
A cannabis edible is an edible product made from the cannabis plant. Edibles can come in many forms and typically contain CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. The effects of cannabis edibles can vary widely depending on the individual and the type of edible consumed.
Today, there are many different kinds of cannabis edibles available on the market. Cannabis edibles are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience, discreetness, and potency. They can be consumed in various ways, including eating or drinking them directly or using them as a topping on food or beverages. Cannabis edible products are an effective way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis without having to smoke it. Before you decide to try an edible, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Learn how to make your own edibles!
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Making Cannabis-Infused Oil
How to Make THC Gummy Bears with Canna Oil
Are Cannabis Edibles Legal?
Edibles are becoming increasingly popular among cannabis consumers because they provide a longer-lasting and more potent high than other forms of cannabis. Buying cannabis edibles is legal in most areas where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use. However, there are limits on the amount of THC in edibles.
Regulations vary from state to state, so it’s important to check with your local laws before purchasing any type of cannabis edible. Edibles must generally contain less than 0.3% THC by weight to be legally sold and consumed.
What Are The Different Types of Cannabis Edibles?
There are different types of cannabis edibles available. These can include:
Different edibles may contain different amounts of THC and CBD. Some edibles, for instance, may have higher THC content than others, and the effects may also vary depending on the dosage used.
It is necessary to be aware of the content and the type of any cannabis edible before consuming it as the effects can range from mild relaxation to intense psychoactive experiences. It is also essential to consult a physician first if you have any pre-existing health conditions or take any medications.
Are Cannabis Edibles Safe?
Cannabis edibles are a popular option for those who want to enjoy the effects of marijuana without smoking. However, it is important to remember that cannabis edibles are not without risk.
Edible products vary in potency and quality due to differences in dosage, labeling requirements, and even ingredients used. It is wise to use caution when consuming cannabis edible products as they can have more potent effects than expected.
Overall, edibles can be a safe and fun way to enjoy the effects of cannabis if they are used responsibly.
How Edibles Are Made
Decarboxylation is the process that activates the compounds (like THC) in cannabis, and some decarboxylation naturally occurs as part of the cannabis curing process. However, most decarboxylation occurs when you expose cannabis to the heat of vaping or smoking. Decarboxylation is a critical step of the preparation process to make potent edibles and is done before the final product is prepared.
DIYers often rely on tools such as the Levo Oil machine or Magical Butter machine to properly infuse the butter and oils they use to prepare an edible to ensure proper decarboxylation in homemade edibles. While it’s possible to use the typical home oven, it can feel more error-prone to home chefs, especially to those who are just starting out and who don’t want to waste flower as they learn the process. They’d instead experiment with new recipes than with decarboxylation options.
Big commercial edibles manufacturers rely on professional decarboxylation machines to ensure precise decarboxylation in large volumes. Some commercial products are handcrafted in small batches. Those chefs often rely on the same machines home bakers use and simply own several machines to increase cannabis oil or butter production volumes.
How to Make Edibles Candy (Chocolate Recipe)
How Edibles Metabolize in the Body
Your body metabolizes a cannabis edible dosage differently than it processes vaping cannabis or using cannabis topicals. The bioavailability of cannabinoids through the digestive tract is just 4-20 percent. This lower bioavailability is due to first-pass metabolism, where some cannabinoids are absorbed by binding to cannabinoid receptors in your gastrointestinal tract on their way to the liver, where they are processed into altered forms before entering the bloodstream.
As an example, Delta-9-THC is processed by the liver into 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is believed to be a more potent version of THC and, for many people, leads to a more intense experience.
Because your metabolism is unique and your edibles consumption goals are too, edibles may not be a perfect fit for your goals. Or they might be just what you need. One consideration will be the edible itself – the dose, the flavoring, how it’s made etc.
What Are the Effects of Using Cannabis Edibles?
The psychoactive effects of edible cannabis use are primarily determined by the amount of THC in the product. Generally speaking, edibles with higher amounts of THC will create more pronounced psychoactive effects than those with lower amounts.
There can also be adverse effects associated with using edibles due to the nature of their ingestion process, so it is vital that users exercise caution when using edibles and determine an appropriate amount of THC for their needs. Edibles come in both THC-only and CBD-only varieties, so users should be sure to read labels carefully before consuming any product or using edibles responsibly.
How Long Do Edibles Take To Work?
Onset and Duration
Onset refers to how long it takes for the cannabinoids to become medically effective. Unlike vaporized or topical cannabis products, edibles must pass through your digestive system before entering the bloodstream, which is slower than entering the lungs or your skin. Edibles typically have an onset of action of 30-90 minutes, with peak action typically reaching between two and four hours from ingestion.
Duration is how long it takes for your body to cease to feel the effects of the edible, and it varies depending on your metabolism, body mass, eating habits, and biological sex. Depending on these factors, how long do edibles last? The total duration for edibles generally ranges between four and 12 hours.
Because your edibles experience will depend on so many personal factors, finding your ideal dose is an integral part of the process.
Edibles take longer to take effect than smoking or vaping cannabis. Generally, it can take up to two hours for an edible to take effect, but some people say that they can feel the effects of an edible in as little as 30 minutes. The effects of edibles usually last much longer than other methods of ingestion, with peak effects lasting 4-6 hours and lingering effects for up to 12 hours. Everyone’s body reacts differently to edibles, so it is important to start small and wait at least two hours before taking more.
Eating fatty foods before taking edibles may speed up the onset of the effects, while drinking alcohol may slow down absorption and delay how long edibles take to work. As with any form of cannabis consumption, be cautious when taking edibles.
The effects of edibles also tend to be stronger than smoking or vaping because they are absorbed through the digestive system and metabolized by the liver before entering the bloodstream. So while it may take a bit longer for edibles to work, they can provide lasting relief compared to other administration forms.
How Much Should I Consume?
Tips from Experts
If you’re new to consuming edibles, there are several recommendations all cannabis experts make to ensure your experience is both enjoyable and effective.
Start Low, Go Slow
Even more so than with other forms of cannabis consumption, starting with a low dose and slowly titrating up to higher doses is important with edibles. It’s easy to get impatient because of the slow onset of edibles, take another dose, consume too much, and have an unpleasant experience.
This applies even if you’ve consumed edibles in the past, perhaps a few decades ago.
If you’re a beginner, start off low and slow. It’s much better to have a too-mild experience and increase your dose next time than to overdo it and scare yourself off edibles or any specific type.
You must first know what edible you’d like to try a new edible. You can find different forms of cannabis edible at a dispensary near you. While edibles are often associated with THC, they don’t always contain the chemical. Many edibles are made to give users the same effect without the high levels of THC. You can decide which edible is right for you depending on your needs and preferences. You can start with something simple like a brownie or gummy with low levels of THC to get used to the effects before trying something more potent.
Your ideal edibles dosage will depend on many factors, but there are recommendations for dosing ranges depending on your tolerance and goals. The best thing to do is to find a trusted doctor or budtender who can help customize your edibles experience to your needs, but if you don’t have access to one, the following chart may be helpful.
Edibles Dosage Mg Chart
|Users with no tolerance||1.5-5mg|
|Users who vape multiple times per week||2-12mg|
|Users who regularly consume edibles and have a tolerance for edibles||10-30mg|
|High tolerance for edibles||30-60mg|
The recommended dosage for first-time users is 5 mg of THC per edible. If you buy edibles from a dispensary, you can select from edibles — such as gummies or chocolate bars — each with 5 mg of THC per serving. If you feel comfortable after consuming the initial 5 mg edible, you can increase your dose to 10 mg for your second edible session. Remember to start with a low dose and gradually work up as needed. This will help you determine an effective and safe amount of edibles.
Go to a dispensary and ask the staff for advice. They can help you decide what type of edible you should try and give you insight into how much THC or CBD it contains.
What Should You Do and Not Do With Cannabis Edibles?
Regarding edibles, there are certain things that one should and not do.
DO: Follow the Dosage Instructions Provided
The dosing guidelines provided by your dispensary should be followed closely, as consuming edibles may cause different effects than merely smoking or vaping cannabis products. You can enjoy their benefits without adverse reactions with proper understanding and guidance on safely and efficiently using edibles.
DO: Properly Store Cannabis Edibles
Store edibles away from children or pets in a cool, dark place. Edibles should be stored in airtight, opaque containers that are kept away from heat, light, and moisture. Labels should be visible and include the date of manufacture and expiration date. Edible products should also be refrigerated or frozen whenever possible to maintain freshness.
You should ensure edibles are out of reach of children and pets and sealed securely so that their contents remain safe from contamination or spoilage. Additionally, edibles should not be stored near cleaning supplies or other chemicals, as these can affect the taste or safety of the product. Finally, it is best practice to check all edibles before consumption for signs of spoilage, such as unusual odors, discoloration, or mold growth.
Label & Seal Products
Unless labeled and appropriately sealed, edibles can look like any other food, and people can accidentally ingest them when they just want a regular cookie or candy to satisfy a sweet tooth craving.
Commercial products will come in properly-labeled packaging, but if you’re storing those products in another packaging or making your edibles at home, be sure to label them appropriately. With a sharpie, you can always write affordable and easy-to-use labeling options on the packaging.
Just like adults, kids love sweets. Ensure your edibles are marked properly and stored in a tamper-proof package and/or inaccessible location. Edibles, especially at high doses, can be terrifying and dangerous to children, and you could be in legal hot water if a child accesses your edibles.
If you over-consume cannabis edibles, most experts recommend sleeping off the rest of your dose. If you can, drink some water and watch a silly movie until you fall asleep. With any luck, you’ll wake up hours after the peak has passed and just feel a little groggy. Take it easy that day and make sure that you note what that dose was so you never accidentally repeat it.
DO NOT: Mix Edible Cannabis With Other Products
Avoid mixing different edible products together, which could lead to an unexpected reaction or overdose. Mixing different cannabis edible products can be dangerous and unhealthy. Consuming too many edibles can lead to adverse side effects such as confusion, paranoia, and anxiety.
Different edibles may contain different levels of THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Mixing edibles with different concentrations of THC can cause an unpredictable high, which could be overwhelming and potentially dangerous.
It is also important to remember that cannabinoids can build up in the body over time, so eating multiple edibles at once may lead to a more intense experience than expected. For these reasons, it is best to avoid mixing different cannabis edible products for your safety and well-being.
DO NOT: Share Cannabis Edibles
Cannabis edibles are not meant to be shared because of their potency. Although the exact effects vary from person to person, cannabis edibles can produce more robust and longer-lasting effects than smoking, vaporizing, or ingesting marijuana. This means that if someone else consumes your edible, they may experience different levels of intoxication than you expected or intended.
Cannabis edibles often contain high levels of THC and other cannabinoids that could lead to unwanted side effects such as paranoia or anxiety in some people. It is difficult to accurately measure the amount of THC in an edible product, making it difficult to know precisely how much THC will be consumed by the other person. For these reasons, it is best to keep cannabis edibles to yourself and not share them with others.
Knowing what to do and not do with cannabis edibles can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Edibles Aren’t For Everyone
As with any other medication, edibles might not be an excellent fit for you, even if other cannabis consumption methods are. Our bodies are unique in how they process everything, including cannabis, through different forms of consumption.
“It has been a trial and error process towards the beginning. Everybody assumed that edibles would work for any given patient. However, one of the things that we’re starting to realize is that everybody is different in the way that their body responds to the medication, and a lot of people don’t respond well to edibles. They could eat up to 500 milligrams and still might not feel anything,” explains Gonzalez
Try edibles slowly and carefully. Record what you’re taking, when, and how you feel. And if edibles don’t work for you, that’s ok. Talk to your doctor or cannabis professional (like the helpful experts at Bloom!) to find out what might be best for you.
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