A Beginner’s Guide to Using Cannabis Edibles
Since the widespread legalization of medical marijuana, different dosage forms have been developed in the hopes of optimizing consumer experience. Among these dosage forms, cannabis edibles are the most diverse and arguably the most popular in the medical world. You’d easily confuse the edibles’ section in your local medical marijuana dispensary for a snacks bar; such is the vast array of cannabis edibles on offer. However, leaving consumers spoilt for choice is not always a good thing. A lot of first-time consumers are confronted with the decision making dilemma on entering the local dispensary. Do I go for a brownie or a cake? Or should I just abandon all the good looking snacks in favor of a liquid edible like magic buzz? How about having a legal, licensed medical marijuana delivery of your favorite cannabis goodies?
Making a choice becomes even more difficult if you do not know what to expect from using cannabis edible and how to use them. This guide hopes to provide you with all you need to know about using cannabis edibles.
What are Cannabis Edibles?
Edibles are one of many ways to ingest marijuana. In some quarters, you could see them being referred to as ‘medibles’; a combination of medicine and edibles. They are usually regular foods that have been infused with a standardized amount of cannabis. The infused cannabis are usually ‘activated’, that is, they have been heated and thus transformed into their active forms. Cannabis edibles have been around for a while but they have become more popular and much more diverse in this age.
How Should You Use Cannabis Edibles?
There is no special technique for using cannabis edibles. You simply eat them (or drink as the case may be). However, this doesn’t mean you should eat anything you are able to lay your hands on and eat it as you like. Here are a few tips on using cannabis edibles as a beginner.
- Buy your edible at a registered dispensary. The edibles on display would come with labels indicating the THC content.
- The importance of buying a snack you love cannot be overemphasized. There’s no point buying a cannabis-infused brownie when you can’t stand a regular brownie
- As a first-time user, you should use your cannabis in a safe place, in the presence of an experienced friend, or just any sober person that could help you in case there’s an emergency
- Start small and move up the ladder. Some experts recommend a dose of 2.5 or 5 mg of THC for beginners.
- The effects of cannabis edibles should set in after about two hours of use. If you do not feel anything, you should wait for a whole day or two before moving up the ladder.
- Up your dose by another 2.5 mg and watch what happens after another 24 hours
- You should adopt this gradual increase in dosing until you find the right dose for your condition
- If the initial dose is too high for you, there is no need to panic. Cannabis overdose is not fatal. Drink a lot of fluid and engage in a distracting activity until the feeling dissipates.
- In the unlikely event that you are in need of emergency care after overdosing on cannabis, your friend should be able to come to your aid. Rest assured, the chances of this happening is negligible.
Do I get a Different Experience from Cannabis Edibles?
If you already know a thing or two about inhaling cannabis, the feeling you’ll get from edibles could be slightly different. Edibles produce a stronger, longer lasting high when compared with the inhaled forms. Although these effects would not incapacitate you as you would expect with alcohol or other stronger drugs, the intensity could knock you off balance. This is why you need to start with a small dose and increase it gradually until you attain the effective dose for your medical condition.
How Fast is the Onset of Action of Edibles?
Unlike the inhaled forms, edibles have a slow onset of action. It might take about 30 minutes to 2 hours before you start feeling the effects of cannabis edibles. This is because edibles have to undergo the normal physiological process of digestion and absorption before you can start feeling their effects.
The time it takes to feel the effects also vary from individual to individual. If you have a fast metabolic rate, you might start feeling the effects earlier than other people. Taking the drug on an empty or full stomach also affects the digestion and subsequently, the onset of action. Absorption would be much faster if your stomach is empty and the side effects could be more intense. Generally, you are advised not to take cannabis edibles on an empty stomach.
Again, you should give your body enough time to digest and absorb the cannabis edible before taking another dose, especially if you are a first-time consumer. Even if you do not feel any effect after two hours of use, you should wait for about 6 to 8 hours, or the next day even. If you take too much cannabis, you should expect unwanted side effects once your body starts absorbing the drug.
How Long Do the Effects Last?
Cannabis edibles have a long duration of action, making up for the comparatively slow onset of action. The effects typically last for 3 to 6 hours and you can expect peak effects about hours after consuming cannabis edibles. In some patients, the effects may last for more than 6 hours. A few people complain of ‘cannabis-induced hangovers’ characterized by lethargy, slight headache or weakness. This is usually uncommon and it is almost always mild whenever it occurs.
Are there Special Advantages to Consuming Cannabis Edibles?
It appears edibles are more acceptable in the medical world and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Although studies have shown that inhaling cannabis is not nearly as harmful as smoking tobacco, there are still concerns over the safety of smoking anything at all. Studies have shown that the stress on the respiratory system could lead to a higher incidence of bronchitis and some other diseases among marijuana smokers. Some other benefits of cannabis edibles include:
- Measured dosage leads to better dosing control
- Longer duration of action could reduce the frequency of use
- The psychoactive effects could be better tolerated when cannabis is eaten as opposed to when it is inhaled
- Cannabis edibles are more discreet to use and there are no concerns over the possible effects of secondary smoking
- Edibles do not require extra equipment
Is it Possible to Overdose on Cannabis Edibles?
It is possible to eat more cannabis than you should although the overdose is never fatal. The only price you would pay is several hours of discomfort. Your ability to go about your daily activities could be impaired during the period. Below are some of the side effects you could experience when you overdose of cannabis edibles:
- Red eyes
- Lethargy and slowness of movement
- Dry mouth
- Hypersomnolence or excessive drowsiness
- Hallucinations (in rare cases)
There is no need to panic if you experience any of these symptoms. As mentioned earlier, you should increase your fluid intake and engage in a distracting activity. Some suggest chewing fresh peppercorn balls or using pure CBD. These could reduce the effect of THC in your system.
Overdosing shouldn’t put you off cannabis edibles forever. It should only teach you to be more careful the next time you are using cannabis. Remember, the key is starting small and gradually increasing the dose until you achieve a level you are comfortable with.
Can I Make Cannabis Edibles on My Own?
You would have come across numerous DIY tips that teach you how to make cannabis edibles in your kitchen. You should know that even manufactures find it difficult to correctly calculate the THC dosage. Their preparation goes through a lot of standardization and regulatory checks and there’s a lot of trial and error in the process. It is advisable to leave cooking cannabis for the pros and purchase your edible at a licensed dispensary. As long as you have a medical marijuana card, you can walk into any dispensary in Florida for the purpose of fulling your medical marijuana prescription.
Enjoy the Best Experience with Edibles
The way cannabis affects you could be different from the way it affects your friend. If you are willing to use medical or recreational marijuana responsibly, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying the best experience with cannabis edibles. Once you achieve the dose that is appropriate for your ailment, simply stick with it and continue enjoying your cannabis. You should talk to your doctor if you notice a dose that was once good for you is no longer adequate. Indiscriminately increasing your cannabis dose could lead to unwanted side effects. Perhaps, it’s time to explore other medical marijuana strains or other routes of administration. Read here for more Tips on how to Dose Edibles Safely.
At the time of this post, commercial medical marijuana edibles in Florida have yet to be legalized. Of note, neither edible products nor edible medical cannabis is allowed for sale at the medical marijuana treatment centers. From chocolate bars and gummy bears to sodas and elixirs, states with a recreational edible marijuana market have it all. As well, some states have medical marijuana programs that allow edibles. As for now, Florida’s medical marijuana patients anxiously await legislation that Gov. Ron Desantis will sign enabling the Florida Department of Health to permit edibles.