One of the popular methods of taking advantage of marijuana’s various potential medical and relaxation benefits is via edibles. Edibles offer the convenience of consuming your favorite foods and drinks while getting the benefits of marijuana. This makes it simple and delicious to consume your weed.
But how do you figure out the dosing of marijuana edibles? And are there any special tips for ingesting them to get the most out of the cannabis? Read on to find the answer to both of these questions.
Available Marijuana Edibles
Before getting into how to dose and use marijuana edibles, you may want to get a feel for the range of offerings. You can easily find high-quality, already-baked goods and baking mixes, drinks, cooking oils, gummies, mints, and other snacks that contain cannabis. Some of these will have the full plant, while others will have just CBD and/or THC.
You can also make your own marijuana edibles if you want by incorporating your favorite plant or CBD oil into a recipe.
Why Consider Edibles
There are many reasons to consider marijuana edibles over the other forms of the plant.
One of the main reasons that edibles are popular is the intuitive nature of eating them. Everyone has years of experiencing eating and drinking, and consuming an edible lets you do that and get the benefits of marijuana. It is completely natural to consume them, contrasting sharply with smoking or other forms that may feel awkward for some people or come with a learning curve.
No Lung Effects
Some people choose to consume marijuana edibles instead of smoking marijuana because of the potential lung damage of the latter method. Breathing in substances, even natural ones like cannabis, into your lungs repeatedly is not healthy. Those who chronically smoke weed have higher instances of breathing conditions such as bronchitis. Those who seek out medical marijuana due to a weakened immune system may have an even greater risk of these issues.
Since your lungs are not involved in consuming a marijuana edible, this is not a concern.
Many people also appreciate the discreet nature of edibles. Depending on the edible that you choose and its packaging, no one will know that you are consuming one. This is particularly helpful for those who need cannabis for medical reasons but do not want to deal with social judgment associated with smoking, whether in public or in the workplace.
How Are Edibles Made? Can They Contain Raw Cannabis?
Most of the edibles you find available for sale are made using pure cannabinoid crystal, hashish, or cannabis distillate. The latter is oil that is flavorless and odorless. The production then typically involves using oil, butter, or another fat to infuse those compounds into the edible. The form of the cannabis concentrate used to make the edible will affect the results you feel and the timing of those effects.
Raw Cannabis Will Not Get You High
When raw, cannabis contains THCA. This converts to THC with heating, but the human body cannot complete this conversion process by itself. As such, if you eat raw marijuana, you will unlikely experience any of the desired intoxicating effects. This will not change no matter how you consume it, assuming that it is still raw.
Decarboxylation Is Necessary
With decarboxylation, the THCA gets heated slightly and then converts to THC. This means that cannabis has to be heated for you to get the intoxicating effects of the THC. Any edibles that you buy will have decarboxylated cannabinoids. Most commonly, this is done via distillation as it allows for a full decarboxylation.
When using cannabinoid crystals or crystalline, it will just have one cannabinoid, either THC or CBD. The decarboxylation takes place during the baking or cooking process.
How to Make an Edible Yourself
You can easily make your own marijuana edibles at home if you wish to, even if you want to use the dry flower. Just remember that you will have to apply heat to the whole flower at some point or use a distillate or other compound that has already been heated during its creation.
The easiest way to make your own edible is to create an oil or butter that is infused with cannabis. You just submerge the flower in your preferred substance (oil or butter), then slowly heat it. This will extract the cannabinoids and provide the decarboxylation that is necessary to convert the THCA into THC.
After infusing the oil or butter with cannabis, you should then strain the mixture. This will get rid of plant material that remains and could ruin the texture of your finished edible. You can use your cannabis-infused oil or butter just like you would any other oil or butter in your favorite recipe.
Dosing With Homemade Edibles
While it is easy to cook your own cannabis edibles at home, it is incredibly challenging to get accurate dosing. It will be unlikely to get an accurate idea of the dosing, especially if you use the cannabis plant. You would find it easier to dose accurately with a distillate or crystalline that you can add in measured quantities. Even then, there is no guarantee that the THC or CBD will be well distributed in the final product.
The most important thing to keep in mind before using marijuana edibles is that it will take longer than some other methods for you to begin feeling the effects, but those effects will likely last longer. The onset time will vary based on your body chemistry and the size of the dose, but it can be between 20 minutes and three hours. The average edible maintains its effects for four to six hours.
How Edibles Work
The slower onset and longer-lasting effect of edibles compared to vaping or smoking cannabis come from the way that you consume it. Essentially, the edible has to reach your digestive system where the marijuana gets absorbed.
To go into a bit more detail, your gut absorbs the compounds in the edible, which your liver then metabolizes into 11-hydroxy-THC. There will be some metabolites of THC and the THC itself left after this. Those circulate through your heart and eventually reach the brain. The compound 11-hydroxy-THC is very sedating with a longer half-life and greater potency than THC.
Understanding a Dose
You may be used to measuring a dose or potency of a concentrated marijuana product or the flower itself. Doing this with edibles is slightly different. The potency of concentrates and the whole plant are both measured in terms of a percentage indicating the strength of the cannabinoid.
In contrast, edibles measure the potency in milligrams of cannabinoids. In most cases, the packaging of your edible will account for cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, just like it would any other key nutritional value. In other words, you should see a milligram amount for each serving along with the serving size, and there should be a total milligram count for the full package.
This method makes it easy for you to consume the right amount of the edible to get your desired dose. You would just make similar calculations as if you wanted to count carbs or another food group. So, if chocolate has 40 milligrams total and you want to consume 10 milligrams, you would eat a quarter of the bar.
Choose the Dose Based on THC
As you look at the dosing information on edibles, you will notice that it appears for both CBD and THC. Remember that of these two elements, THC is the intoxicating cannabinoid, and CBD is not. CBD provides a range of other effects like pain relief and relaxation. As such, you should make the THC dose your priority when calculating how much to consume.
The vast range of edibles on the market means that there is a full spectrum of CBD-to-THC ratios. As such, if you limit products to your ideal dose of THC, you should be able to find one that is within your ideal range for CBD as well.
What Is Your Ideal Dose?
Now that you know how to find the dosage information on your marijuana edible packaging and know how to look for the THC content, not the CBD, how much should you consume? The key here is to be cautious and start small. If you consume too much of the edible, you may feel overwhelmed by the effects.
Beginners should start with a dose of between 1 and 5 milligrams of THC. Wait at least 24 hours before you assess the effects. You can then increase the dose slowly, but no more than about 2.5 or 5 milligrams each day. You want to find the minimum dose that lets you feel the effects. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so your minimum effective dose may be more or less than the level of your friends.
Those with intermediate levels of experience consuming marijuana edibles can probably enjoy between 5 and 20 milligrams at a time. Only experienced users should have more than 20 milligrams at once.
What If You Consume Too Much?
If you consume too much of an edible, your best option is just to sleep and drink plenty of fluids. It should work through your system. This is why it helps to have an experienced edible user nearby, so they can monitor your reactions and confirm you do not need medical care.
How to Ingest Edibles Properly – Before You Start
A big part of properly ingesting marijuana edibles comes from the preparation that you do.
Buying the Edibles
Always choose to purchase your edibles from a reputable dispensary. You want to choose a product that has clear dosing information so that you know how much THC it contains. This is particularly important if you are new to cannabis and edibles, so you do not use more than what is comfortable.
Choose a Safe Spot to Try Them
The first time you use edibles and any time you increase your dose, you should always do so in a safe space. Make sure you do not have any important commitments for the rest of the day or at least the next six to eight hours. This way, you do not have to worry about your reaction to marijuana and its effects that might interfere with your life.
Ideally, you should also have an experienced marijuana user with you the first time you consume edibles. It is also smart to have someone who is sober nearby, especially the first time. This way, if you realize you are one of the unfortunate few who are allergic to cannabis or have another rare negative reaction, someone can take care of you.
Eat and Drink Enough Before
Before you eat your edible, make sure you have plenty of fluids in your system and a good meal. This will help your body process and deal with the effects of marijuana.
Calculate Your Dose
You should also take the time to calculate your ideal dose of edibles, as mentioned above. Remember that you want to start small, especially if you are a beginner.
Do Not Consume More Right Away
When consuming edibles, it is important to wait and test your reaction before you consume more. You definitely do not want to have more of the edible within two or three hours of initial consumption, even if you do not feel the effects yet. Remember that it can take this long for the effects to begin. Ideally, you should just wait until the next day and repeat the process, but increase the dose slightly.
Remember That Everyone Is Different
One of the most important things to keep in mind when ingesting marijuana edibles is that everyone is different. The effect that an edible will have on you depends on your metabolism, how much you have eaten, your past experience with edibles and cannabis, and numerous other factors. It can also depend on the type of edible you choose.
Infused drinks and candies, for example, may give you a small reaction quickly as you absorb some of the cannabinoids via your mouth. Then, the larger reaction will follow.
Edibles are a great way to consume marijuana, but users should make sure to pay attention to dosing as this is difficult to calculate with edibles. Expect the high from edibles to take longer compared to smoking cannabis, but then it lasts longer as well.