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A Beginners Guide to Cannabis Edibles

November 9, 2017

There are a myriad of benefits to using edibles to enjoy cannabis. From the lack of volatile organic compounds and monoxides you get from smoking, to the stronger, longer lasting effects, there are many reasons to choose edibles over smoking. However great the benefits, it can be daunting to get started with edibles, particularly if you have read any scary stories in the news, or know a friend who fell asleep behind the toilet. However, there is a safe and easy way to find your optimal dose without risking a couple days in bed. 

START SMALL

No, seriously. Start small. . . And small does not mean eat half of a 1000mg brownie. This means start with something like Kiva Mints at 2.5 mg of THC, or Paradise candies at 10 mg and gradually up your dosage until you find your comfortable dose.

Ideally, take a 5-10mg dose, wait and see what effect you have. Wait a day for it to get out of your system, then double the dose and see how that hits you. Repeat on a daily basis, always taking the full amount at one time, until you find a number that works for you.

Your goal is to find your optimal dose, as this will save you both time and money. Taking 5mg every hour opens you up to underdosing, as by the time you hit 25 mg the first 5mg dose is wearing off. If you know 35mg is your sweet spot, taking it all at once lets you get to where you want to be, and then you can take smaller maintenance doses as the effects wane.

START SLOW

There are a number of variables that can change how edibles affect you. Metabolism, body weight, amount of (non-medicated) food in your stomach, and how the edible is made can all create drastically different effects. There is a misconception that you will feel an edible in an hour, this is not always the case. With a full stomach, it can take me up to four hours to feel the full effect of an edible. Even if the package says to wait an hour before consuming more, give it longer. As Korova says, “You can always eat more, you can never eat less”

THINGS TO KNOW

All edibles are not created equally. There are many ways to produce edibles with widely varying results. This means that even if you find your perfect dose is 25 mg of THC, changing edibles can cause that 25mg to affect you in different ways.

Types of Edibles

Dosing varies widely in edibles. Here, the Petra Mints are 2.5mg each, while the Korova Black Bar is a whopping 1000mg.

Trim

Many edibles are produced by slowly heating up butter or vegetable oils and infusing marijuana trim into the fats. This makes the cannabis bio-available so your body can absorb the cannabanoids.

CO2 Oil

Using co2 extracted cannabis oil to produce edibles has a couple of benefits. First off, it reduces the “green” taste and smell common with trim. Secondly, it tends to have a more consistent and faster effect. Since the CO2 oil is already bioavailable, this allows precise dosing during the production process.

Infused vs Sprayed

Many cannabis edibles, particularly those found in unpermitted stores, are simply sprayed with THC laden oils. This can lead to uneven application, meaning that for a 100mg edible, one half could be 20mg, while the other is 80mg. Infused edibles are actually created with the cannabis oils cooked into the edible.   

Type Specific Edibles

Most edible companies use trim blends from a variety of sources, creating a hybridization of effect. Increasingly as the industry matures more companies are producing edibles made entirely with Indicas or Sativas. Kushy Punch does this very well, and Sensi Chew brings it a step further by offering an Indica based insomnia chew that includes Melatonin, and a Sativa based Energy Chew that includes caffeine.

Drinks, Candies, Fruits and More

Tinctures come in many different formulations for different effects, and varying dosages.

How you ingest Cannabis can also change how quickly and strongly it affects you. Sublingual tinctures which are used by placing a few drops under the tongue are one of the fastest ways to get cannabis into your system, since the body absorbs it directly into the sublingual artery, bypassing the digestive tract all together. Likewise, Cannabis infused beverages, such as tea and juices have the dual effect of allowing sublingual absorption as well as bypassing the digestion period giving you a faster onset. Candy lozenges hit quickly if dissolved in the mouth, while your richer brownies and cookies take longer to digest giving a longer more intense effect. 

FIVE GOLDEN RULES

Start Slow – Your goal is to find your ideal dose.

Take a day off– Effects can vary widely, so make sure to have the time to enjoy it.

Location matters – If you wind up with a heavy effect, comfort is king, and your bed is better than a park bench.

Eat first – Eating edibles on an empty stomach does increase intensity, however eating after consuming an edible can actually force more of the THC into your system faster.

If at first you don’t succeed – Don’t eat more because it hasn’t affected you. Wait a day and try again. You can never eat less.

DOING IT RIGHT

I have been using cannabis off and on for about two decades. I am no slouch when it comes to smoked flower and extracts, but after an incredibly bad time with a homemade batch of brownies I had stayed away from anything but extremely low dose edibles. Over a period of a few weeks, I used Kiva’s Petra mints (2.5mg) to figure out that I was comfortable and functional at around 10mg (4 mints).

I wanted to see where my tolerance was, so one Saturday morning, with nothing planned, I ate a 35mg Korova cookie sample. I abstained from any other cannabis that day, so I could determine the exact effects. An hour later, my body felt flush with a comfortable warmth rising to my cheeks, otherwise I felt mostly sober. “Okay, I thought, I can handle much larger doses than I believed.”

Being responsible, I did not go and wolf down another edible, nor go and light up a joint. This turned out to be the right choice.

Four hours after eating the cookie, I was at full blast. Slack jawed and giggly, I felt as if I had just finished a joint all to myself. I was not uncomfortably stoned, but I was without a doubt sitting at about an [8] on a scale of 1-10.

The effects lasted for most of the day, and I had a great time.

Knowing how 35 mg effected me gave me an experimental baseline to start really enjoying edibles. I soon found that my perfect Saturday dose was 25 mg, leaving me perfectly lifted without becoming a drooling giggle ball.  

DOING IT WRONG

A friend got a Kushy Punch (100 mg) and a Korova Black Bar (1000mg). I explained to him that he should take ¼ of the Kushy Punch (25mg) and see how it affected him. If he didn’t feel much, he should take the rest of it in one dose the next day. I figured he could zero in on his optimal dose between 25 and 75mg, then decide how much of the Korova to eat.

He ate the ¼ Kushy Punch. An hour later, not feeling much, he ate the rest. Not really feeling a heavy effect half an hour later, he decided he had a high tolerance and ATE THE WHOLE 1000 MG black bar. In 90 short minutes, he ate 1100mg of cannabis. When his girl friend woke him up next, he was asleep beside the toilet.

Half an hour later, the paramedics reassured him he was going to have a good time and left him after he signed off a release form saying he did not need to go to the hospital. He went back to sleep for two days.

He did not have a good time

What to do if you overindulge

1: Don’t panic. No one has ever died from injecting too much cannabis. If you do wind up in an emergency room, all they will do it let you rest it off in an emergency room bed. This is not just a bummer, it is expensive.

2: Go to bed. Consuming edibles is a prefered method to combat insomnia. If you find yourself uncomfortably stoned, simply go to bed and sleep it off.

3: Try some CBD. Eating a 10-20 mg dose of CBD or hitting a CBD vape pen can curb some of the heavier effects of THC. DO NOT use a THC/CBD product as you’ll just be pushing more THC into your system.

4: Do not eat to try and dilute the edible. This actually pushes more of the THC into your system faster and can contribute to nausea.

5: Distract Yourself. If you feel anxious or uncomfortable, try talking to friends, watching your favorite comedy or playing a familiar video game.

Overall edibles are enjoyable, effective and a valuable alternative to smoking cannabis, and if they are taken carefully and responsibly, there is nothing to be afraid of. . . Except maybe running out.