While most of us associate cannabis with smoking, cannabis edibles offer a whole new way of enjoying the herb, albeit differently. The way we look at cannabis is constantly evolving and we are now enabled with better information than what was available in the past, letting us discover newer ways to enjoy cannabis. Weed edibles bring forth a whole new gamut of experiences and before you begin, you need to arm yourself with the right information that will ensure safe and holistic enjoyment. This article probes deep and offers an in-depth view of cannabis infused edibles, their benefits, how your body reacts to it and some helpful tips while you try making them in your own home. So, let’s start with the most basic question –
What are Edibles?
Simply put, cannabis edibles are meant and made to be eaten. It is quite different from smoking or vaping, as the cannabis compounds are delivered into the bloodstream via the digestive system. While consuming in form of edibles is easy and intuitive, the effects vary from smoking flower or vaporizing concentrates; since weed edibles get absorbed by the digestive system, the high takes longer to set in and the effect potency slowly increases.
You may feel the effects as quickly as 20 minutes or it may be long-drawn and take as long as 3 hours with the duration of high ranging between 4 to 6 hours. A plethora of options are available when it comes to marijuana edibles – starting from classic baked goodies like cookies and brownies to chocolate bars, truffles and even gummy bears!
Benefits of Cannabis Edibles
Why edibles, really? Let’s find out –
More Powerful and Longer-Lasting
It all begins with the digestive system. As it breaks down the cannabis edibles, it takes longer time to let the effect kick in as it allows a slower release of cannabinoids into the body. Edibles are more cannabinoids-heavy than the puffs from a joint or water pipe. The most significant difference between smoking weed and taking weed edibles is the progression of the high. With smoking, it peaks quite quickly and then tapers off while with edibles, the high takes a longer while to set in and comes gradually, lasting a good few hours before fading off.
Also, since the THC compound gets processed by the liver in case of edibles, it gets converted into the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC, an alternative, highly potent form of THC that crosses the blood-brain barrier more effortlessly than delta-9 THC.
Ease of Dosing
When smoking or vaping weed, you usually do not get a real view of the consumable amount. All you can do is limit the number of tokes you take, which however does not provide you with the correct insight. On the other hand, edibles make it very easy for you to be able to understand the amount of dosage involved. While dosing homemade edibles is not as exact as say, cannabis edibles in legal markets, which carry a clear label of the amount of contained cannabinoids, it is still easier to do so than with joints.
Cannabis consumption is still rife with stigmas and stereotypical judgements. Use of cannabis edibles helps you stay away from unwarranted scrutiny as it is discreet and smoke-free and does not attract undue attention, leading to a safe experience.
Dosing Cannabis Edibles
Edible potency is markedly different from cannabis flower or concentrate. Instead of looking at the cannabinoid strength percentage, focus is given to the milligrams of cannabinoids present in the product. Most marijuana edibles packages come with both of these information. For instance, an entire chocolate bar may have 50 milligrams of THC and if the desired dose is 5 milligrams, all you need to do is to divide the bar into 10 pieces of 5 milligrams each.
In the case of marijuana edibles, it is important to know the accurate dosage and to follow a measured pace, especially owing to the delayed onset of effects and variable dosage options. If you are a beginner, the recommended dose will be 1 to 5 milligrams of THC after which you must wait for 24 hours and evaluate how you are feeling. You can gradually increase the dose by 2.5 mg or 5 mg every 24 hours till you get the desired hit. Since a number of factors come into play when your body interacts with cannabinoids in marijuana edibles, dosing recommendations have ranges instead of definite quantities.
Based on your goals and experience level, you can take a look at the following list of doses –
Microdose (2.5 mg THC) – If you are just starting out with edibles, this is a great dose to kick it off with. This should perk you up, help you focus and make you less anxious.
Low dose (5 mg THC) – This should energize you and make you more sociable and creative.
Regular dose (10 mg THC) – Popularly considered as a standard dose, this usually kicks in after an hour and can last for about 4-6 hours, based on your body chemistry and rate of metabolism.
High dose (25mg+ THC) – This is a significantly high dose that is not recommended for newbies. Users should experience an intense high that is not likely to wear off quickly.
How do Edibles Work and How Long do the Effects Last?
Cannabis edibles are consumed through the mouth, absorbed in the gut and the absorbed compounds get metabolized in the liver. The amount of time it takes to give you the first hit depends completely on the strength of the dose, your body’s metabolic speed, the fullness or emptiness of your stomach and of course, your tolerance level.
In most cases, you tend to feel the effects of an edible after an hour or close to that. If you continue to not feel anything, it is recommended you wait an additional 30 minutes before you consume anymore. This is suggested because edibles high is often known to escalate quickly which might leave you feeling overwhelmed or overtly sedated. Please be advised that edibles work quite differently from joints, and it is better to exercise caution and patience while consuming them.
Even though the effects of cannabis wear thin after a few hours, it stays in the body for a long time afterwards. THC can be detected in your body for a few hours and then it quickly breaks down into metabolites that get removed by the body through the waste system. While marijuana can be detected in the body up to 13 days after last consuming it, many regular marijuana users have tested positive even after 45 – 90 days of using.
How is Consuming Marijuana Through Edibles Different From Smoking/Vaping?
Edibles are different from weed smoked through a bubbler in multiple ways. While smoking joints/vaping involves cured buds, cannabis edibles contain some kind of concentrated cannabis suspended in fat, like oil or butter.
Edible cannabis tends to have a more intense and unique effect on you physiologically than smoking through a sweet puff pipe. That is owing to the way they are consumed. During inhalation, you smoke vapour that contains cannabinoids like THC, and they enter the bloodstream through the alveoli of the lungs from where they supersede the blood-brain barrier, quickly creating their effects. This is far away from how edibles function. They introduce cannabinoids directly to your bloodstream via the digestive system. The cannabinoids get broken down into their respective metabolites, a process that gets kick-started by a group of liver enzymes called P450. For instance, Δ9- THC disintegrates into 11-OH-THC, which is a much stronger form of THC, which then crosses the blood-brain barrier to produce its effects
Making Your own Cannabis Edibles
If you are worried about making your own edibles at home, don’t be – it is relatively easy. All you need are butter or oil and your decarboxylated cannabis flower and you are good to go. You can include it in your favourite dishes as well. Before we proceed, you might ask, what is decarboxylation? It is the process through which the cannabinoids in your flower get activated using mild heating. Cannabis infusion takes effect which in turn converts precursor cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD respectively.
How to make Canna-butter
- Proceed to decarboxylate your cannabis flower first. To achieve that, grind your flower, lay it out on a baking tray and bake it for 30 minutes at 120°C
- Boil a saucepan full of water, add the butter to it and let it melt, further add the decarboxylated cannabis to it and keep your gas low.
- Let the mixture come to simmer with most of its water evaporated.
- Let your butter cool down, strain the current mixture through a cheesecloth and keep it in the fridge.
How to make Canna-oil
- Proceed to decarboxylate your cannabis flowers first.
- Put it in a jar along with any kind of oil you prefer – coconut, oil or any type of vegetable oil
- Boil a saucepan full of water
- Put the mason jar in the water bath and let it ‘cook’ for an hour. Keep stirring throughout.
- Strain the oil to get rid of any existing plant matter.
Please remember that cannabis edible does not mean you simply consume it like food – that will be a sheer waste of good cannabis. To activate the cannabinoids that are present in your cannabis, they have to be extracted in a fat-soluble medium in the form of oil or butter. This can be readily used with any food you want, and will be perfect for your Marijuana infused dinner parties.
Choosing the Right Strain for Your Edibles
Just as picky as you are with what you smoke, you also need to diligently pick the right weed strains for your edibles. Optimally, you should go with a strain you have used before and are comfortable with. This is especially because with cannabis edibles you are more likely to experience stronger highs which will last for a longer time. Obviously this depends on the dosage amount as well.
If you are looking to relax, lay back and unwind after a long day at work, go with indica strains. Alternatively, if your goal is to experience energy and intellectual high, go for some sativa strains. If you are based somewhere where cannabis is legal, you can chat up with your budtender, explain what you are expecting out of your high and work towards finding the right strain for your cannabis edibles. However, always remember that the strength of a strain is directly proportional to the concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes.
If you are interested in cannabis for its medicinal purposes, you should definitely try the CBD oil; short for cannabidiol, CBD oil is non-psychoactive in nature, meaning it does not get you high but is chock-full of potential health benefits. It is often used to treat a wide variety of ailments, from pain management to mental health.
How to use Cannabis Edibles the Correct Way
The most basic need is to not to out-trip yourself and end up feeling uncomfortable or even scared. Instead of having a good trip, which is the whole purpose anyway, you end up feeling more anxious than when you started. Fortunately, that can be avoided. For starters, don’t get too pumped up and take it slow. Start small and build from there and to do that start with the smallest dose. If you begin with a microdose, you are well-set. Let some time pass before you decide to take more. Don’t be troubled if you don’t feel an instant kick – edibles take time. It is always a better idea to build the momentum slowly, instead of rushing in and ending up feeling overwhelmed. However, in the event that you do end up feeling sick, don’t panic and wait for it to pass, which will happen eventually. In the meantime, snack on some pistachios or pine nuts that help with mental clarity. Eating citrus foods like lemons, oranges and grapefruit is also beneficial.