Edible cannabis products have become a favorite of both recreational and medicinal users over the years. When consuming cannabis in an edible, the effects are quite different than when smoking or vaping. It is the unique effects of edibles which have made them popular, whether they are rich in psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), or non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD).
This comprehensive guide to edibles will cover all your questions, highlighting the benefits of both CBD and THC edibles, and showing you how to take them responsibly. We’ll also give you some tips on how to make your own baked goods infused with cannabis.
After reading this post, you’ll know all about:
- How CBD and THC edibles take effect in the body
- The different types of edible on the market
- How to use edibles safely
- The benefits of CBD and THC edibles
- How to make edibles for yourself
How do cannabis-infused edibles work?
CBD and THC are cannabinoids, that only start to have an active effect on physical and mental functioning when they reach the bloodstream. The majority of their actions are on receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), but there is evidence that they also influence receptors elsewhere.
Edibles, however, work differently to smoked and vaped cannabis products, where the cannabinoids are absorbed via the lungs. Instead, cannabinoids from edibles become active after passing through the walls of the stomach. In that sense, THC and CBD, two different forms of cannabis take effect in the same way. Because of this slower absorption, edibles do not boast the instant response that you get from smoking flower in a joint or vaping an e-juice. However, once the user does begin to feel the effects, these can last for several hours. Depending on preferences, this is why some find that eating cannabis is the best way to enjoy CBD or THC.
What types of edible are there?
The edible industry is constantly expanding, in line with the ever-growing recreational cannabis and hemp-based CBD markets. In the early days, most used to make and take homemade edibles, such as brownies and cookies. That’s changing somewhat, with some brands now making gummy bears, hard candies, chocolate, and even lollipops and popcorn. There’s an edible product for everybody, and those trying to stay lean have the option of dried fruit or healthy drinks.
What’s great about a professionally manufactured edible product is you can hone in your desired effect more easily, with the milligrams of THC or CBD present is made clear on the packaging. Getting the ideal low or high dose is no difficulty at all. This isn’t always the case with homemade edibles, where you have to expect some variance as it’s unlikely the hemp or cannabis extract will be spread evenly.
How to use edibles safely
As with any cannabis product, knowing how to use it safely promotes a positive and healthy experience. This is particularly important with THC edibles because of the psychoactive effect on the brain. But being clear about how to use edibles also helps with keeping costs down, by ensuring you don’t take too much or not enough.
Furthermore, because of the delay in effect when taking edibles, that you don’t get with inhaled products, it’s important not to be impatient. Waiting a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour after your first dose is essential before you determine if the effects are appropriate. You can always take more if your dose is too weak, but a high dose is more difficult to correct.
The main thing you have to be concerned about with CBD edible use is drowsiness. CBD has no intoxicating properties, so you can comfortably take this type of edible in any situation and retain total control over mind and body. But a really strong dose could make you pretty tired a couple of hours into the experience. For this reason, and especially if enjoying an edible made with an indica-dominant extract, it’s best not to drive or operate heavy machinery after a high dose.
In addition, going heavy on the dosage may not yield any extra benefits, as CBD’s effects eventually plateau. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a higher dose will necessarily be better, even if using for medical reasons. While there aren’t any health risks from a hefty dose, needlessly taking large quantities will hit your wallet. Settling on the perfect amount is trial and error for many users. Experiencing low, high and middling doses and adjusting accordingly is the best way of enjoying CBD efficiently long-term.
It’s with THC edibles that you have to be somewhat more careful. Ultimately, these are psychoactive drugs which have an unusual mental effect. While users get acquainted with these reactions over time, the potential for a bad trip is always there, even though THC is not considered a hard drug.
Firstly, finding a comfortable environment to ‘trip’ in is vital. Extroverts will probably want to be with friends where they can socialize. Introverts may be better suited to a quiet environment. Ultimately, a relaxing situation where you don’t have to take care of any responsibilities is the best time to use THC edibles. This applies even more so than when smoking weed as the effects are known to last for up to eight hours.
Keeping the dosage down initially is key, as an excessive quantity of THC could make for lots of anxiety and paranoia. Those familiar with cannabis edibles can be more liberal with their dose, but first-timers should definitely start small (perhaps 5 mg of THC). It’s not a race, and the first marijuana experience can be a defining one. You should do everything possible to make sure it’s a positive experience.
However, sometimes a trip goes bad for reasons outside of your control. If you do feel uncomfortable and want to bring your ‘high’ to an end more quickly, take some CBD. Research shows that CBD works in the opposite way of THC on the CB1 receptor. It’s this receptor that THC binds to in order to initiate a psychoactive effect, altering mood, appetite and perception of reality. In contrast, CBD inhibits this effect. The best products for reducing THC-induced anxiety are CBD-rich joints, vape juices and tinctures for the speedy effects.
Benefits of CBD edibles
CBD edibles have a number of therapeutic benefits. Because they last longer, they are a more effective way of using CBD for some conditions than other products. For example, those taking CBD for sleep purposes receive limited help from vape juices and tincture oils, as the effects wear off midway through the night. This is a nightmare if taking CBD for sleep apnea, chronic pain or any other nighttime disturbance. Edibles, however, provide an entire night’s relief from a single dose just before bedtime.
The lasting effects also work a treat during the day. This is good for those who don’t have the opportunity to top up their dose often. This may be the case if the user needs to be discreet about their CBD use. However, taking edibles in the day can also be for economic reasons, particularly with chronic conditions. Why spend more on a product where you have to dose regularly, when one edible dose can give the necessary relief for hours?
Qualities of THC edibles
THC edibles are brilliant for cannabis users who want to change up their high. Perhaps regular smoking has caused a tolerance buildup, meaning the marijuana doesn’t go as far as it usually does. Since the THC from edibles is absorbed differently, the tolerance is also different. For a while, the high will probably feel much more intense from an edible than with smoking. This is a pleasurable effect for those who are intent on getting as high as possible!
THC edibles can also be used medicinally. Some only experience the full advantages of cannabis with this psychoactive ingredient. Pain relief, for instance, is enhanced by THC because it significantly reduces pain perception. THC is also a very strong anti-inflammatory. One study found that THC is 20 times stronger than over-the-counter aspirin. Like with those who use CBD medicinally, the extended relief from edibles is often more economical.
Furthermore, for those who want to enjoy weed when they can’t risk making a smell, edibles provide ideal coverage. While the edible itself may have a slight aroma, it’s not pungent by any means and can be discreetly taken in just about any scenario.
How to make cannabis-infused food
So, you want to make your own cannabis food products? This can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it! What many users like to do is make cannabutter or infused oil and then add it to a recipe. Or, you could buy a tincture oil and just mix it in to a recipe to provide the benefits of the cannabinoids.
To make cannabutter, get some standard butter and melt on low heat. Grind up the bud and add it to the saucepan, but ensure that the temperature stays between 160 and 200 Fahrenheit. It’s important that the THC and CBD is activated, but you don’t want to burn the compounds off. Stir the mixture regularly over the course of 45 minutes to an hour. Once satisfied, strain the butter with a cheesecloth to separate the bud. Store the butter in a glass dish with an airtight lid.
You can use it immediately, or refrigerate and consume whenever you want. You can add as much hemp or cannabis flower as you need. It all depends on how strong you want the edibles to be!
Tips for the ultimate edible experience
A trick that many edible users – both CBD and THC – are fond of is to combine the effects with vape juice or a joint. The delayed response of edibles means that you can get the effects to coincide, making for a stronger high, or more potent relaxation. It helps to know how long that edibles take to kick in beforehand.
Roll up a joint before you start and then take the edible. After half an hour or so, or whenever you start to feel the edible kicking in, smoke and enjoy the ultimate edible experience!
Hopefully this guide has shown you a lot more about how CBD and THC edibles work, and how you can benefit from them. Edibles are not just a gimmick, and have distinct value, whether you’re using cannabinoids medicinally or recreationally. They’re fun to make, although it’s certainly easier to buy some ready made products! If you do go for the latter, ensure that the company you’re buying from lab tests their products. You don’t want to end up with a dud.
Do you have any tricks you like to employ with edibles that we haven’t mentioned here? Or maybe you are taking edibles for a reason you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!