A Complete Guide to Cannabis Edibles
Edibles are foods that are infused with cannabis. They’re a great-tasting alternative to vaporizing or smoking, and those who consume them often do so for their effects, which are typically more intense and prolonged than with other cannabis products.
In places where marijuana is legal for medicinal and recreational use, consumers have many different edibles from which to choose. It’s quite common for enthusiasts to make delicious edibles at home.
While edibles are very popular among cannabis connoisseurs, they’re also favored among those who are trying weed for the first time. In this guide, you’ll learn about cannabis edibles and their safe usage.
Currently in the market, edibles are referred to using a variety of names, some of which you have probably heard. They include names such as medibles, firecrackers, brown pot and space cakes amongst others.
Cannabis edibles are stronger than smoking, though it takes slightly longer for the effects to be realized as compared to those who inhale marijuana. However, this should not misguide you to think they are any milder. It is imperative for every user to consume the edible responsibly to avoid the detrimental effects of irresponsible consumption.
What Are Edibles?
As mentioned before, edibles are beverages and foods containing the active compounds found in cannabis. Using various techniques, the flower can be infused into most types of drink and food. Generally, edibles are made to offer high doses of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is known for its intoxicating effects.
With legalization becoming the norm and consumer demand for cannabis products increasing, the market for edibles is a sizable one. There are hundreds of types of cannabis-infused beverages and foods available in dispensaries, and enthusiasts are coming up with creative ways to infuse the herb into everyday recipes.
These and other edibles are often found in dispensaries:
- Hard and chewy candies
- Trail mix
- Ice cream
- Dressings and sauces
Depending on your dosing needs and your budget, you’re sure to find an edible that’s right for you.
Types of marijuana edibles
A variety of edibles are available in the market today, and they can be broadly classified into three main categories as follows:
Baked goods are intended for gastrointestinal absorption. They include all edibles where the marijuana will be ingested into the stomach and absorbed into the body through the stomach linings. Most of the edibles you will find in this category include cookies, brownies and more colorful creations such as medicated banana bread.
Drinks are intended for oral uptake and they have the advantage of taking effects almost immediately, though they also tend to wear off very quickly. This category also includes the edibles which you hold in your mouth for a given amount of time. Such include tinctures, lozenges and suckers.
Oils, butter, liqueurs
The final category includes the oils, butter and liqueurs. This category is rather hybrid since the marijuana in the products can be absorbed either in the mouth or in the stomach.
What is Decarboxylation and Why Is It So Important?
Before consuming or making edibles, it’s crucial to note that all dried or raw cannabis must undergo the process of decarboxylation before its THC and CBD can be extracted. The unrefined flower contains THCA (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid). Though these cannabinoids have powerful benefits, they’re not intoxicating.
Decarboxylation converts THCA into THC and CBDA into CBD. Most edible makers use solvents and/or heat to decarboxylate cannabis flower before using it in baked goods, candies, drinks, and other products. Mastering the decarboxylation process is a crucial step for those who want to make edibles at home. Also starting with high-THC or high-CBD seeds can make your extraction process more precise and also get you more of the magic ingredient in your edibles that you are looking for.
The Making of Cannabis Edibles
Most edibles are made via one of the following processes. Baked goods such as brownies or cookies are commonly made with canna-oil or canna-butter. The latter is unsalted butter that’s mixed with water and finely ground cannabis flower. The butter can then be used in any recipe.
Canna-oil, which blends cooking oil and ground cannabis flower, can also be used to make desserts. However, it’s more commonly used in sauces, salad dressings, and sautéed vegetables.
To make infused drinks, simply add a few drops of a cannabis tincture to your favorite beverages. Marijuana tinctures are a liquid form of the product that allows cooks to control the THC content of the edibles they create.
Do Edibles Have Different Effects Than Other Marijuana Products?
When compared to other ingestion methods, the effects of edibles are delayed. While someone who smokes or vapes marijuana may feel a high within minutes, a consumer of edibles may not feel anything for up to an hour and a half afterward.
If you vape or smoke, CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are quickly absorbed in the lungs and hit your bloodstream quickly. Edibles, however, must be digested before that can happen. Once the effects set in, they’re typically longer lasting and stronger than with other dosing methods. These factors may determine how long an edible’s effects will last:
- The edible’s THC concentration
- How much is consumed at one time
If you’re trying edibles for the first time, or if you’re trying a new product, visit a local cannabis dispensary where you can get safe dosing recommendations from a budtender.
When you look at cooking or baking with different strains, the effects can vary slightly. Some of the differences between sativa and indica strains melt away when you extract just the THC from the buds. However, when you use more full-spectrum infusions that preserve the lesser cannabinoids and terpenes, a cookie make with Auto Grapefruit weed will certainly give you a different high then the same cookie recipe made with Chemdog #4.
What’s the Difference Between CBD Edibles and Cannabis Edibles, and Is One Better Than the Other?
Marijuana-infused edibles are different from CBD edibles in that they contain a very high concentration of THC, which is well-known for the high it provides. On the other hand, cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound that’s also found in cannabis.
CBD edibles are typically made with hemp oil, are non-intoxicating, and are popular among consumers who want the therapeutic properties of cannabis without the euphoric effects. CBD oil can be blended into most prepared foods, and it’s a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle.
Is It Better to Consume Edibles With THC and CBD?
Many of today’s most popular edibles contain CBD and THC, leading many to wonder if a combination of these two cannabinoids is better than either one alone. Studies suggest that cannabinoids’ natural effects are more potent when they’re consumed together. Known as the entourage effect, this concept suggests that CBD, THC, and the other compounds found in cannabis work synergistically to enhance overall health and wellness.
Safety Advice for the Consumption of Edibles
Edibles are challenging for new users who aren’t yet sure of how their bodies will respond to the amplified and delayed effects of THC. Because there’s a delay, it’s common for beginners to consume more, only to discover that they’ve taken too much. Here are a few tips on having a safe experience with cannabis edibles.
- Find a comfortable spot. It’s best to consume edibles in a safe, comfortable setting. If you’re dosing for the first time, consider asking a friend to monitor your consumption and help if you’re feeling any discomfort.
- Consider the suggested serving size. Edibles bought in dispensaries will have their THC levels marked. It’s important to remember that most edibles, such as chocolates and hard candies, are sold in multi-serving packs. For instance, if the package has 100mg of THC and there are ten servings, each serving has 10mg.
- Start with a small serving and work your way up. While 10mg is an average serving of THC, new consumers should start with a smaller dose of two to five milligrams. Wait an hour or two to assess the effects before consuming another serving.
If you’ve overindulged and you feel sick, remember that the effects are temporary. Lie down, close your eyes, and breathe as normally as possible. Ask someone to look in on you occasionally, and consider consuming CBD, which is known to counteract THC’s psychoactive effects.
The history of cannabis edibles in the United States
Eating cannabis is not a phenomenon that started in this century. It is a practice which has been there for hundreds of years. For instance, the Chinese emperors used to brew tea using cannabis and Hindus drank bhang tea which was a concoction of ginger, warm milk, ganja and garam masala.
But in the United States, the use of marijuana for recreation began around in 1910, following the influx of Mexicans who introduced the practice in the country. Before then, marijuana use was for medical purposes only.
The current era of marijuana edibles can, however, be traced back to 1954. This is the year when Alice B Toklas, an elderly lesbian, published her infamous cookbook which had a recipe known as “Haschich Fudge”. The cookbook brought cooking with cannabis to the mainstream America and from then, various ideas and utilization of marijuana in foods were conceived. It is during this time that edibles like “pot brownies” became popular and we have never looked back since then.
Frequently Asked Questions About Edibles
Whether you’re trying cannabis edibles for the first time or you’re an experienced consumer, it’s okay to be curious about the process. Here are a few questions and answers to help you have the best experience possible.
- How do I determine the right serving size? There’s no “standard” serving size as far as edibles are concerned. Every user responds differently, and everyone has a different tolerance to THC. The best way to take edibles is to establish a baseline and go up or down from there. Cannabis tinctures deliver a measured amount of THC, so you know just what you’re getting in an edible.
How long does it take to feel the effects of an edible? The answer depends on several factors, but for most consumers, the effects of a THC-infused edible may take anywhere from a half-hour to 90 minutes to appear. THC concentration is a determining factor; more concentrated products kick in faster. The method of absorption also plays a role. THC lollipops, gum, and hard candies are taken sublingually, which shows effects sooner than absorption via digestion.
- What are the best strains for using to make edibles? Well, this is a tough one! There are hundreds of great strains out there and they all contribute different benefits and different setbacks. Judging from a consensus of many public opinions, here are a few strains that can get you started making incredibly potent and effective edibles:
As mentioned before, factors such as an individual’s height, weight, and metabolism also affect absorption rates and onset times. Ask your budtender for recommendations based on your attributes.
Which Information Should I Search For on Product Labels?
The safest edibles are carefully extracted, meticulously sourced, and formulated to contain precise amounts of the active ingredient. There are thousands of options available, and new users should do their research before choosing a product. Read the label carefully to find out how much THC is in the entire package and each serving. Label reading will help you take the right dosage each time.
How Long Does the High Last?
The euphoric effects of a cannabis-infused edible may go on for as little as two hours or as much as 12 hours, depending on its THC content and type. An edible that takes longer to digest will release THC slowly, leading the user to feel the effects for a prolonged period.
The right edible for you is the one with effects that endure only as long as you need them to. Start with a small serving size and a single type of edible and gradually ramp up the THC level as your tolerance increases. With this strategy, you can determine the right length of time for the ideal edible experience.
As cannabis becomes legal and more commonly accepted throughout the country, users are starting to experiment with new and creative recipes. Many enthusiasts are growing weed seeds at home and harvesting the flower for infusion into drinks and foods. With the information in this guide, you’ll be well on your way to safe, effective consumption of cannabis-infused edibles.