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Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Edibles
7 min

Everything You Need To Know About Cannabis Edibles

7 min
Lifestyle News

Cannabis edibles offer a completely unique way to enjoy weed. However, taking edibles can be intimidating, especially if you are new to it or have had a negative experience. Luckily, ensuring a safe, responsible, and enjoyable experience with edibles is super easy. Read on to find out how.

Taking cannabis edibles can be confusing for both the uninitiated and the experienced user—but it needn’t be! In this article, we take an in-depth look at what edibles are, how they work in the body, and the unique effects they provide. We'll also share some info on the benefits edibles have over other forms of cannabis, teach you how to dose edibles correctly, and even share some tips for making your own delicious weed edibles at home.

WHAT ARE EDIBLES?

What Are Cannabis Edibles?

Cannabis edibles are, you guessed it, made to be eaten. Unlike smoking or vaping, edibles deliver cannabis compounds to the bloodstream via the digestive system. As such, edibles take much longer to “hit” than smoked/vaporized flower or concentrates.

There are countless types of cannabis edibles out there. Some classic options include baked goods like brownies and cookies, and other sweet confections like gummy bears. However, almost any meal or snack can be infused with cannabis, and some innovative products hitting the shelves in legal markets include chocolate bars, fudge, pasta sauce, lemonade, truffles, coffee, honey, and much more.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CBD AND THC EDIBLES?

What’s The Difference Between CBD And THC Cannabis Edibles?

Cannabis contains hundreds of chemical constituents, but the two most common are THC and CBD; the former is the main intoxicating compound that gives cannabis its iconic high, while CBD is a non-intoxicating compound widely used in health and wellness products.

The main difference between CBD and THC edibles is their chemical makeup, and therefore their effects. THC edibles will get you high, while CBD edibles won’t. But know that some edibles may contain different ratios of THC and CBD, and thus their effects will vary accordingly.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EDIBLES?

What Are The Benefits Of Cannabis Edibles?

There are many benefits to cannabis edibles that make them an attractive alternative to smoking, vaping, or dabbing.

  • STRONGER, LONGER-LASTING EFFECTS

Because cannabis edibles are broken down by the digestive system, not only do they take longer to kick in, they also offer a slower release of cannabinoids into the body. If you’re taking THC edibles, this results in a longer-lasting stone that comes on gradually.

Edibles usually contain larger doses of cannabinoids than a few puffs from a joint or vape. Also, when taking THC edibles, the compound is processed by the liver and converted into the metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC, a very potent alternative form of THC that passes the blood-brain barrier much more easily than delta-9 THC. While CBD edibles obviously won’t produce intoxicating effects, they are also processed by the liver and provide a slow release.

  • EASY DOSING

Another benefit to taking edibles is that they can be much easier to dose. When smoking or vaporizing cannabis, your best bet at dosing is controlling the number of tokes you take. But that gives you no real insight into the amount you’re consuming. Edibles, on the other hand, can make dosing a breeze.

In some legal cannabis markets cannabis edibles need to be clearly labelled with the amount of cannabinoids they contain in a single serving, ensuring consumers have a controlled and enjoyable edibles experience. Admittedly, it is a bit more difficult to dose homemade edibles, but it is still easier to do so than with, say, a joint.

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  • DISCRETION

Unfortunately, cannabis users still fall victim to old stigmas and stereotypes. Even medical patients are still scrutinised for using cannabis. Luckily, edibles can help cannabis users escape that stigma by providing a simple, discreet, and smoke-free way to use cannabis both recreationally and medicinally.

  • EXPERIMENTATION

Edibles can easily be made at home using infused canna-butter or oil that you can literally add to any dish. This allows cannabis users the opportunity to experiment with doses and recipes to find new ways to enjoy a high that you just don’t get from smoking.

HOW TO DOSE CANNABIS EDIBLES

How To Dose Cannabis Edibles

If you are lucky and have the chance to buy labeled edibles, dosing is easy. It is literally just a matter of following the instructions on the package or modifying the serving size to meet your needs. If not, dosing of cannabis edibles can be a bit harder. We have put together some guidelines underneath to ease the process for you.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend sticking to the following doses based on your goals and experience level:

  • Microdose (2.5mg THC): This is a great entry-level dose if you’re new to the world of edibles. You can expect to feel slightly uplifted and more focussed, with a notable drop in anxiety.

  • Low dose (5mg THC): A dose of this size should produce more uplifting, energising effects. You might also experience a boost in creativity or sociability.

  • Regular dose (10mg THC): This is widely considered a standard dose of THC. When ingested, a dose of this size will usually kick in after about one hour and produce a relaxing stone that can last for 4–6 hours, depending on your metabolism and body chemistry.

  • High dose (25mg+ THC): Medical patients and those with a high tolerance may need 25mg of THC or more to feel a significant effect. For inexperienced users, however, this amount will catalyse a long and intense high. Proceed with caution.

Even though dosing edibles at home is more complicated, you can still work out how much THC is going into your homemade meals as long as you know the % of THC/CBD it contains.

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For example, if you’re using 10 grams of dried cannabis flower (10,000 milligrams) with a THC concentration of 10% to infuse 20 grams of butter, you can calculate that the butter will contain a total of 1,000mg of THC (10% of 10,000). If you then use that butter to make a batch of 30 brownies, you can assume that a single brownie will contain roughly 30mg of THC.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR EDIBLES TO KICK IN? HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?

How Long Does It Take For Cannabis Edibles To Kick In?

When you swallow an edible, your digestive system first needs to break it down before the cannabinoids can start taking effect. Now, exactly how long this takes depends on the kind of edible you took and the strength of your dose, your metabolism, and whether you already have something in your stomach. And of course, tolerance plays a large role here as well.

In general, you should feel the effects of an edible after about one hour. If not, it's a good idea to wait an extra 30 minutes before upping your dose. This is because, although it takes some time to come on, the edibles high has a tendency to go from 0 to 100—quickly. If you’re feeling bummed that you’re not as high as your buddies and reach for another cookie, and another one... you might find that your experience becomes overwhelming or overly sedative. Remember, you don’t eat edibles like you’d toke from a joint. It takes some serious self-control and a bit of patience.

HOW DO EDIBLES DIFFER FROM OTHER FORMS OF TAKING CANNABIS, LIKE SMOKING/VAPING?

How Do Cannabis Edibles Differ From Other Forms Of Taking Cannabis, Like Smoking/vaping?

Edibles differ from regular smoked/vaped cannabis in many ways. First of all, instead of containing cured buds, they contain some form of concentrated cannabis suspended in fat, usually butter or oil. In that sense, they are more similar to a cannabis tincture than regular dry herb, although the way they interact with the body is quite different.

The physiological effects of edible cannabis are usually described as intense and unique from smoking or vaping. And there are good reasons behind this.

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When you inhale smoke or vapor containing cannabinoids like THC, these cannabinoids enter the bloodstream via the alveoli of the lungs, from where they surpass the blood-brain barrier to swiftly produce their effects. Edibles, on the other hand, deliver cannabinoids to your bloodstream via the digestive system. Here, a group of liver enzymes known as cytochrome P450 begins breaking down these cannabinoids into their respective metabolites. Δ9-THC, for example, is broken down into 11-OH-THC, a much more potent form of THC, which then passes the blood-brain barrier to produce its effects.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN EDIBLES

How To Make Your Own Cannabis Edibles

Making your own edibles at home is super simple. All you need to do is infuse butter or oil with decarboxylated cannabis flower, which you can then use in all your favourite recipes. Decarboxylation is a process that helps “activate” the cannabinoids in your flower using gentle heating to ensure your cannabis infusion will take effect. This process turns precursor cannabinoid acids like THCA and CBDA into THC and CBD, respectively.

MAKING CANNA-BUTTER

  1. First, decarboxylate your cannabis flower. To do so, grind your flower, spread it out on a lined baking tray, and bake at 120°C for 30 minutes.

  2. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add in your butter, allow it to melt, then add in your decarboxylated cannabis and reduce the heat to low.

  3. Allow the mixture to simmer until the majority of the water has evaporated.

  4. Cool your butter, strain it into a container through cheesecloth, and place it in the fridge.

MAKING CANNA-OIL

  1. Decarboxylate your cannabis flower.

  2. Place your flower in a mason jar together with olive, coconut, or any other type of vegetable oil.

  3. Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil.

  4. Add the mason jar into the water bath and “cook” for one hour, stirring regularly.

  5. Strain your oil to remove any pieces of plant matter.

You can use cannabis oil or butter to infuse almost any dish. Remember that cannabinoids are fat-soluble, which is why they need to be extracted into oil or butter. Don’t try to just throw some flower into your food, or you’ll only be wasting weed and ruining your recipe.

INDICA VS. SATIVA — PICKING THE RIGHT STRAIN FOR YOUR EDIBLES

Indica Vs. Sativa — Picking The Right Strain For Your Cannabis Edibles

Just like smoking and vaping, you’ll want to make sure you use the right strain when making edibles at home. Ideally, we recommend a strain that you’re already familiar with. Just keep in mind that its effects will be more pronounced and longer-lasting in edible form, depending obviously on the size of the dose you take.

As a general rule of thumb, stick to indica strains if you're looking for a more relaxed, couch-lock kind of experience that’s perfect for unwinding after work while watching a movie or listening to your favourite record. On the other hand, if you prefer a more cerebral, psychedelic high, consider choosing some uplifting sativa strains for your edibles.

Remember, the effects of a particular cannabis strain can’t be defined just by genetics. What really influences a particular strain’s effects is its concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where cannabis is legal, talk to your budtender, tell them about the experience you’re looking for, and work together to find the right strain for your edibles.

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If you’re seeking a less intense psychoactive experience, look to strains with higher concentrations of CBD. Studies show that CBD might be able to tone down some of the psychoactive effects of THC, making for a more relaxing experience that can be great for people new to the world of edibles.

EXTRA TIPS FOR MAKING/TAKING EDIBLES

Extra Tips For Making/taking Cannabis Edibles

Here are some hot tips to bear in mind on your journey to making and/or taking edibles. Ultimately, it’s about trial, error, and adjusting the dose to suit your preferences:

  • Start low, go slow

This is really the key to mastering edibles. Remember that edibles can take a while to take effect, but when they do, the effects are much stronger and last a lot longer than smoking or vaping. Hence, always make sure to start with small doses, and allow some time to pass before ingesting more. If you’re eating brownies, for example, start with a half portion, wait, and then eat more in 45–60 minutes if need be.

  • Stay off the booze

Mixing cannabis and alcohol can be messy. If you’re new to edibles, we highly recommend staying off the booze until you’re familiar with edibles and how they make you feel.

  • Eat beforehand

Taking cannabis edibles on an empty stomach is a bad idea. Always eat a proper meal before getting high to ensure the effects come on gradually.

  • Don’t snack on edibles

We’re all familiar with the munchies. If you’re going to try edibles, make sure to keep a solid selection of non-medicated snacks on hand so you’ve got something tasty and, most importantly, non-intoxicating to munch on.

  • Add lecithin to your homemade edibles

Lecithin is a phospholipid found in eggs, avocados, sunflower seeds, and more. Besides helping bind together certain ingredients (fat, water, and dry ingredients like those used in brownies), lecithin can actually drive up the potency of your edibles. It does this by maximising absorption of cannabinoids in the body.

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  • Label and store your edibles correctly

Whether you get your edibles from a store or make them yourself, always ensure you label them correctly and store them safely in your house. This almost goes without saying, but be sure to keep your edibles well away from children and animals.

  • Don’t drive

Cannabis and cars don’t mix, regardless of how you choose to get stoned. Always stay off the road when you’re high.

  • Relax and enjoy!

Taking edibles is a really exciting and fun way to enjoy cannabis, and all you need to do to ensure a positive experience is follow the tips we’ve covered in this article. Feel free to make a check-list of the points we’ve mentioned here so you can kick back, relax, and enjoy your edibles properly.

Steven Voser

Written by: Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an Emmy Award Nominated freelance journalist with a lot of experience under his belt. Thanks to a passion for all things cannabis, he now dedicates a lot of his times exploring the world of weed.

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