User’s Guide to Cannabis Edibles

While the traditional image of a cannabis edible is a homemade brownie, as legal cannabis spreads across the country, producers are coming up with endless delicious ways to ingest cannabis. From gummies to chocolates, to baked goods and THC-infused drinks, edible cannabis products are a flourishing portion of the market.

There’s a good reason for the growing enthusiasm for edibles in the market. By absorbing the THC through the digestive tract, users can feel the effects of cannabis without the irritation of inhaling smoke. However, like any other ingestion method, it’s important to know the best practices of ingesting cannabis edibles before diving in.

Edible Cannabis Basics

Cannabis edibles are exactly what they sound like: any form of cannabis that is meant to be eaten and absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. They come in many forms and can be bought pre-made from reputable cannabis distributors or made at home.

How long does it take for edibles to take effect?

When inhaling cannabis you often feel the effects within minutes. Cannabis-infused edibles take much longer to take effect. This is because the product needs to be digested before the THC enters your bloodstream. As a result, most industry experts suggest waiting more than an hour to feel the effects of a cannabis edible.

Many inexperienced users make the mistake of ingesting more edibles because they don’t feel the effects right away.

What Edible Dosage Should I take?

Dosing edible cannabis is an important issue, especially for beginners. Cannabis affects different people in different ways, and digesting cannabis may contrast with other forms of cannabis consumption. Like any new cannabis experience, it’s important to start with small amounts at a low dosage, giving the cannabis plenty of time to metabolize.

According to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission,  the serving limit for a cannabis edible is 5 milligrams of THC. And while packages of edibles can have up to 100 milligrams total, the product must be separated out into servings of no more than 5 milligrams. If you’re concerned or confused about how to separate edible cannabis into servings of 5 milligrams, consult with a reputable cannabis dispensary.

Other states where cannabis is legal have different serving size recommendations, with Colorado setting a serving at 10 milligrams of THC, but most industry experts suggest starting with 5 milligrams and adjusting the dose accordingly.

We usually suggest users ingest one serving orally, knowing that onset can take 60 minutes or longer. After 60 minutes, users can repeat use 1-2 hours after onset or as needed.

How long do the effects of edibles last?

Every body metabolizes every dose of edible cannabis differently, making it hard to answer “how long does the effect of edibles last?”. However, industry experts say the effects last a number of hours.  Compared to inhaling cannabis, metabolizing cannabis makes the effects much stronger. This effect is because half of orally-ingested THC gets converted into 11-hydroxy-THC, a more powerful version of THC. When smoking or inhaling marijuana vapor, 11-hydroxy-THC does not form or get sent to your brain like it does when you eat an edible. When calculating the dose of an edible, be sure to take into account that you may not be able to tolerate as much as you would with other types of consumption.

How to Make Edibles

Making cannabis-infused food isn’t as easy as sprinkling some cannabis flower into your batter. It’s actually a multi-step process that ends with THC infused into oil or butter that is then used for cooking. In order to make your own edibles, you’ll first have to go through the process of decarboxylation.

Decarboxylation is the process of converting tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid that is most prevalent in raw cannabis flowers, into THC, the psychoactive component. The main components of decarboxylation are time and heat. Drying and curing cannabis over time will cause a partial decarboxylation to occur. Smoking and vaping cannabis cause instant decarboxylation

After you have infused cannabis into an oil, you can then cook with it. Cooking with cannabis-infused oils has become so popular in recent years there is even a Netflix cooking competition about it.

The risks of DIY edibles

While cooking cannabis edibles at home is possible, there are a number of things to consider before turning on the stove. Professional producers carefully dose edible products to ensure you don’t consume too much. Consuming too much cannabis through edibles can cause unwanted side effects.

Things to Consider Before Taking Edibles

Like any new experience, it’s important you consider the risks before taking cannabis edibles for the first time. Edibles pose a risk, as you cannot inspect the quality of the cannabis that was used to make them. Low-quality cannabis may present unknown health risks if it was not cultivated properly.

Also, before taking edibles, you need to remember to consider tolerance, dosing, and time of effect. It’s incredibly easy to eat a handful of cannabis-infused gummy bears even though the recommended dosage is one. Be mindful of labels and manufacturers’ recommendations when consuming.

Finally, be careful about how you store your cannabis edibles. Because many cannabis-infused products are sweets, they should always kept out of the reach of children. Storage containers with locking mechanisms are also effective for keeping edible cannabis away from children. Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission, prohibits companies from making or selling edibles in the distinct shape or likeness of a human, animal, fruit, or cartoon character. The packaging must have two symbols marking that the product contains marijuana and is not safe for kids.

Good Edibles Start with Good Cannabis

Edibles are a great way to consume cannabis without impacting your health through inhaling. With legal marijuana spreading across the United States, there are seemingly endless options for tastes, products, and experiences with edible cannabis. When you’re looking for high-quality cannabis edibles, it’s important to work with trusted producers. If you’re interested in learning more about which edible cannabis product may be right for you, speak to one of our Hosts at Happy Valley.

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