Edibles are perfect for people who want to enjoy cannabis but don’t want to smoke it. If this is your first time trying marijuana edibles, you might feel overwhelmed since there are plenty of options out there. There are cookies, pretzels, gummies, mints, and other forms from different companies. On top of that, the effects could vary from person to person.
To help you choose the best edibles from hundreds of choices on the market, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide about edibles and how to use them.
- What are marijuana edibles and their different types?
- What are the benefits of marijuana edibles?
- What’s the best way to consume edibles?
- How long does it take for edibles to kick in and how long do they last?
- How do you make edibles kick in faster?
- How many edibles should you take?
- Tips for first-time consumers of marijuana edibles
- How should you handle edible overconsumption?
Edibles are food products that have been infused with cannabis. They come in a variety of forms, such as baked goods, candies, chocolates, gummies, lozenges, and even beverages.
Edibles can be homemade or sold in dispensaries. When made at home, the THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) is usually extracted into oil or butter, which can be used for cooking or spreading directly on food.
Edibles can be categorized into THC-dominant, CBD-dominant, and 1:1 THC:CBD edibles. The more you learn about how these cannabinoids can affect your body and what specific amounts you can handle, the better experience you’ll get with edibles. Here’s how to differentiate the three:
THC-dominant edibles are the type that can produce the psychoactive high that’s associated with cannabis consumption. Their potency can differ by product and also by state. Each legal cannabis market has its own THC limitations on edibles.
Most edibles come in doses like 2.5 mg, 5 mg, or 10 mg THC per serving with 10 servings per unit. These measurements help the consumer to dose properly.
The best way to describe CBD is that it won’t get you high, but it can still make you relaxed and motivated. Unlike the euphoric buzz that THC produces, CBD delivers improved moods, physical relaxation, stress relief, and other benefits.
Meanwhile, with a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio, the consumer can still feel the buzz. However, the CBD can balance out some of the THC’s intensity. As a general rule, the higher the CBD:THC ratio, the less intense the psychoactive highs.
Cannabis edibles have distinct benefits over smoking, such as:
Smoke contains carcinogens that can cause respiratory issues, such as lung inflammation and bronchitis. Edibles don’t entail burning marijuana and inhaling the smoke, so they don’t pose these health risks.
The effects of edibles do last longer compared to smoking, making them ideal for users who are looking for long-acting relief for their conditions.
Consuming edibles doesn’t require going outdoors or looking for a smoking area. Also, people who can’t smoke find that edible products are the best way to consume cannabis.
Just like regular medicines, you can take edibles without being noticed. Unlike smoking, they won’t emit marijuana-scented smoke. This could be helpful for medicinal patients who need to take it while they’re in public.
As mentioned, there are different forms of cannabis edibles. If you break them down into categories, they will fall into three groups: baked edibles, candy edibles, and beverages.
- Sugary treats, such as rice krispies
- Hard candies
- Flavor belts
Each of the abovementioned confections has its own subjective experience. Whichever is the best will depend on your preference in terms of edible type, potency, and flavor. However, if you’re concerned about your blood sugar, it might be best to avoid edibles with added sugars.
Getting high entails getting THC into your bloodstream. Keep in mind that edibles are the slowest method to do this. It’s because smoking joints and using tinctures can put THC directly into the bloodstream through inhaling and orally ingesting the bud. But since edibles are processed, it takes time for them to go through your system. They need to be digested first, then proceed to the liver to deliver THC to the bloodstream.
The main concern with edibles is the onset time, meaning the duration it takes for them to kick in. Many studies say that edibles take effect within 30 to 60 minutes of consuming them. However, that will vary due to several factors like the type of edible you ate, how it was absorbed, diet, metabolism, and tolerance.
For instance, edibles in the form of cookies, brownies, and gummies need to be chewed before you swallow them, thus delaying the THC breakdown and circulation. Moreover, if you’ve had a full dinner before eating an edible treat, like a weed brownie, it takes some time to feel the effect.
Among edibles that contain THC, peak blood levels occur around three hours. That’s when the effects are most likely to be the most intense.
Furthermore, the effects of edibles can last for around 4 to 12 hours, depending on the dose and potency. The high from products that are chewed and swallowed typically lasts longer than the high from products that are absorbed orally.
If you don’t want to wait for hours to feel the effects of edibles, there are ways to accelerate the onset time.
One way to enhance the effects of edibles is by pairing them with fatty food. The body’s intestinal lymphatic system can make the cannabis compounds available faster when they dissolve fats.
Therefore, consuming THC and CBD through fatty foods or with fatty foods can lessen the onset time and even increase the intensity. If you consume them on an empty stomach while eating fatty food like peanut butter, yogurt, or cheese, you can get right down to business.
If you want your edibles to hit even faster, you should use hard candies, lozenges, breath strips, and lollipops. These edibles fall into the sublingual group. They’re dissolved and absorbed and enter into the bloodstream in a more direct and immediate way.
If you don’t feel your edible’s effects after some time, be cautious before taking another dose. Your physical characteristics play a vital role in how you react to cannabis. The effects could just be delayed, and taking a double dose over a short period of time could lead to cannabis overconsumption. Especially if you’re a newbie, you should wait at least 24 hours before taking another edible.
Be patient because each person’s system differs. Some people have stomachs that can empty very fast, while others take a long time to digest food. Think of it as some people who can eat a whole cake without gaining a pound versus others who gain extra weight just by eating a bar of chocolate. This also applies to how we digest edibles and how THC is metabolized throughout the body.
The cannabis industry has begun experimenting with nanoemulsions so that the absorption of THC is increased and accelerated, thus enhancing the onset of effects.
Many cannabis users are not very familiar with THC edible dosages. Though you might be familiar with flowers, eating edibles is a different experience.
Whether you’re experienced with edibles or not, you should begin with a low THC edible dosage. It’s because eating too much can lead to unwanted side effects. Since you can always take more, starting with a smaller dosage is a good idea. We recommend a 5 mg dose as a starting point.
Here’s a table for safe edible dosing:
|THC Content per Dose||What To Expect||Who’s It For|
|1 to 2.5 mg THC||Mild relief of pain, stress, anxiety, and other symptoms improved focus and creativity||NewbiesMicrodosers|
|2.5 to 15 mg THC||Stronger symptom reliefEuphoriaPossibly impaired coordination and altered perception||Social butterfliesRestless sleepersPatients with persistent problems|
|15 to 30 mg THC||Intense euphoria or unwanted effects in unaccustomed users higher likelihood of impaired coordination and altered perception||Seasoned users experienced users with insomnia medical patients with developed tolerance|
|30 to 50 mg THC||Very strong euphoria in unaccustomed usersImpaired coordination and altered perception||Users with poor GI absorption of cannabinoidsPeople with significant tolerance to THC|
|50 to 100 mg THC||Can cause extreme side effects, like rapid heart rate, nausea, and pain can impair coordination and alter perception||Patients with debilitating conditions like cancer and inflammatory disorders For experienced THC users only|
Here are some tips to follow, especially if you’re a beginner:
All marijuana edibles should have a clear label with the amount of THC in each serving, as well as the number and size of servings in each package. Be aware of how much THC you’ll consume and how it can affect you. Start with a small amount, around 5 mg or less, if you’re not sure how your body will react.
The high from marijuana edibles can take up to four hours to peak and can last for around 10 hours. You may feel fine for several hours after consuming it, and then you’ll suddenly feel very high. Until you know how edibles can affect you, wait for at least 2 to 4 hours after consuming the first serving before taking more.
For first-timers and infrequent users, smoking, eating, and drinking even only 5 mg of a marijuana-based product can cause impairment. It can affect your ability to drive and perform other activities. Make sure you plan to stay in a safe place until the high wears off.
Overindulging with cannabis edibles can happen to any of us. After all, dosing edibles is tricky, especially if you’re still learning how your body reacts to THC. Beginners usually make the mistake of consuming too many edibles because they don’t feel the effects yet. This could lead to a state of paranoia once the full effects kick in.
Sadly, there’s no quick way to get THC out of the system. If you think you’ve consumed too much, here are some tips to ease the negative effects you feel:
- Stay calm and remind yourself that any uneasy sensation you’re feeling is temporary.
- Keep in mind that marijuana is a psychoactive substance, so it’s mind over matter.
- Drink lots of water. Keeping yourself hydrated can help ease the effects.
- Chew on some fresh peppercorn balls to reduce the effects of anxiety.
- Drink lemon juice, as it’s also believed to relieve anxiety (because of the terpene limonene).
- Eat foods that are rich in sugar and carbs to tone down any negative effects.
- Look for a comfortable spot to rest.
Keep marijuana edibles locked away from children and pets. Small bodies can’t handle even tiny amounts of marijuana.
Marijuana edibles should have a clear label and child-safe packaging. Keep them in their original packaging so that they can be easily identified.
It’s possible to consume more marijuana than your body can handle. They can lead to both physical and mental adverse effects, like:
- Extreme confusion, anxiety, panic, and paranoia
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Increased blood pressure
- Severe nausea and vomiting
Using marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding can inflict harm on the baby. The THC from marijuana can pass from the mother to her unborn child through the placenta, and breastfeeding moms can pass THC through her breast milk to the baby.
Though smoking or vaping has a faster effect, it has several potential health risks. Edibles are an excellent alternative to avoid them. Furthermore, while edibles may take longer to kick in, the high generally lasts longer.
However, edibles can cause certain unpleasant side effects for people who consume more than the recommended amount. It‘s also important to keep them away from children and pets because they can look and taste just like regular treats.