Edibles are a perfect option for first-timers who want to experience the effects of cannabis without smoking. Who wouldn’t want to get elevated by eating brownies, cookies, or candies? Taking edibles often results in a more intense high, so first-timers should pay close attention to how much they take. Check out our guide to edible dosing and a few other tips to help you have the best experience.
HOW DO EDIBLES WORK?
If you’re vaping or smoking cannabis, you’ll feel the effects within minutes. But edibles are more complicated: Your body needs time to digest, metabolize, and absorb the cannabinoid compounds. Depending on your metabolism, body weight, and many other factors, it could take well over an hour before edible effects are noticeable.
Inhaling cannabis smoke or vapor sends the psychoactive THC — which has just been activated by the heat you applied — and other, non-intoxicating cannabinoids directly to your bloodstream and brain.
Wanna know how THC is absorbed into your body through edibles? Check it:
- After traveling down your esophagus, the delicious edible lands in your stomach.
- The edible is digested by acids and enzymes that break it down into its component parts, including THC.
- The THC is absorbed through the lining of the stomach and taken to the liver.
- In the liver, THC is transformed into 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is like super-THC. It’s more potent and can cross the blood-brain barrier more easily than THC that’s been inhaled.
HOW LONG DO THEY TAKE TO KICK IN?
Several factors are involved in how strong the effects of an edible will be. Edibles such as gummies, baked goods, drinks, and others are digested in the stomach and liver and usually take 45-60 minutes for effects to kick in, while certain edibles such as mint strips, lozenges, and lollipops are absorbed sublingually, under the tongue. Effects will occur within minutes this way, as THC is directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
How quickly or slowly your body processes or metabolizes food and edibles will affect how long it takes to kick in, how long it lasts, and how strong it will be. Your body weight is also a strong factor in how quickly edibles set in and their potency.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?
Finding the right dosage is very important. Everyone reacts differently to taking cannabis. Effects will differ from person to person based on potency, their previous tolerance to certain cannabinoids, and whether they have a sensitive endocannabinoid system.
Patience is a virtue and a necessity when you’re eating edibles. Whether you’re new to all systems of cannabis delivery or you’re just new to edibles, you should start with the lowest amount possible. Consider cutting a piece in half to start. Save the rest for later. (It’ll still be just as good, we promise.)
Cannabis users with no tolerance should start with 2mg of THC (considered a “low” or “micro-dose”) while 5mg of THC is a standard dose. For those experienced with edibles, 10mg is a strong starting point with great pain relief and deep relaxation effects.
The amount of THC can be increased up to 50mg or more depending on the individual.
Edibles are processed differently in the body, but a general rule is that smoking a 1/2 gram joint is the equivalent of eating a 10 mg THC edible.
WHERE SHOULD I TAKE THEM?
Sometimes cannabis can be unpredictable, even for the most experienced user. Anytime you’re smoking cannabis or taking edibles, stay in a comfortable environment.
The most important thing is to remain calm. Being in a familiar place with people you know helps. Do something you enjoy. Whether it’s listening to music, playing board games, or bingeing Netflix, an activity will keep you calm and occupied.
Like alcohol consumption, we recommend not to have children around and not to operate machinery when you take edibles. Not only could they accidentally ingest it, but you won’t be in the condition to be responsible for them.
Some cannabis conneseurs enjoy exploring the outdoors, exploring museums, and socializing while they are elevated on edibles. If you’re taking edibles for their therapeutic effects the National Library of Medicine study showcases how cannabis helps with pain, inflammation, nausea, and more.
WHAT IF I’VE NEVER SMOKED OR CONSUMED CANNABIS?
If your body has never experienced the effects of THC before, that doesn’t mean you should avoid edibles. Many people prefer edibles to flower and vaping. However, start with the smallest amount of THC possible—2mg, if you can break your brownie bite or gummy into a small piece—and wait up to two hours for the effects.
Drink water, eat snacks, and relax while you’re waiting. Always listen to your body! That said, even if you have smoked and vaped before, you should expect different effects from edibles, which are slower but stronger.
SHOULD I EAT EDIBLES ON A FULL STOMACH?
Yes. Similar to drinking alcohol or caffeine, eating before consuming edibles can keep the effects more gradual and consistent. Having a full stomach allows you to process the edibles more slowly and makes you less likely to abruptly experience unpleasant side effects. Eating a meal before enjoying an edible can also temper the “munchies” feeling you might experience later on.
In a 2019 ScienceDaily study, researchers from the University of Minnesota showed that high-fat foods sped up cannabidiol absorption. If you take an edible on an empty stomach, take a lower dose to be safe. And never take alcohol with an edible. Not only does alcohol cause dehydration but it’s been found to increase the concentration of THC in the blood. The last thing you want is adverse effects.
UNDERSTANDING CANNABINOID (CBD, THC, CBN) LEVELS IN EDIBLES
Adding CBD to THC can enhance the medicinal benefits of cannabis edibles, such as pain or anxiety relief, while decreasing the adverse effects, such as impairment and an elevated heart rate.
CBD partially blocks the intoxicating effects of THC in the body, giving consumers medical benefits of cannabis without as much impairment. Balanced edibles, or those with a CBD:THC ratio of 1:1, will be therapeutic and produce less impairment than edibles with just THC.
For example, a person who feels moderately stoned or impaired after taking 5 mg of THC will likely feel less or no impairment when taking 5 mg of THC with 20 mg of CBD. As the amount of CBD in an edible increases, the likelihood of unwanted intoxicating effects goes down. Edibles usually come in CBD:THC ratios of 2:1, 5:1, 10:1, 20:1, and more.
However, keep in mind that consuming excessive amounts of edibles with THC, no matter how much CBD, can still produce unpleasant effects.
WHERE SHOULD I GET MY EDIBLES?
You can make edibles at home, yet buying your edibles from a quality provider is safer for first-timers. Edible dosing is more precise and each product is tested in a lab beforehand. Higher-quality cannabis is typically used and customers have more options.