Those who prefer not to smoke or vape cannabis can still access its benefits by eating it. THC edibles are a popular way to experience the psychoactive and pain-relieving effects of cannabis, while CBD edibles provide pain relief without the high. Edibles come in many forms, including baked goods; candies such as gummy bears and mints; or savory snacks such as popcorn and potato chips. Cannabis chefs can create gourmet meals in which every dish contains infused oil or butter. It’s relatively easy to infuse oils at home; however, if you’ve never tried edibles, the safest way to ensure you receive the correct dose is to purchase them from a dispensary.
Smoking or vaping cannabis produces an immediate effect, because the THC goes directly to the brain. With edibles, however, the liver metabolizes the THC, which can take up to two hours. The high from inhaled cannabis fades much more quickly, whereas the high from ingested cannabis can last for up to 10 hours.
Because eating cannabis can produce a cerebral, almost psychedelic high, it’s very important to start with a low-dose edible and wait for it to take effect before consuming more. Eating too much can lead to a frightening, uncomfortable experience, especially for first-time users. Although it might be tempting to eat an entire cookie, brownie, or tub of medicated hummus, it’s important to resist the urge until you know how it will affect you.
When trying edibles for the first time, especially if you don’t already use cannabis in another form, start with a product containing 5 mg THC or less. Users with a higher tolerance can eat significantly more, but it’s still best to start with a low dose and wait to see how it affects you after two hours, especially if you’re trying a new strain or product.
The most common psychological effect of consuming too high a dose is anxiety, including paranoia. To help prevent this, eat a meal before consuming an edible. Take your first dose with trusted friends, who can help calm you down and distract you if you start to feel anxious. Keep some CBD oil nearby, as it binds with cannabinoid receptors in your brain and helps blunt the effects of THC. Some dispensaries even sell a “rescue tonic” for users who find themselves too high; purchasing some along with your first edibles can bring you peace of mind, even if you don’t need to use it.
Another good tip for first-timers is to purchase single-dose edibles, rather than, for example, a candy bar designed to be broken into pieces. Cannabis often causes the munchies, and you don’t want to be tempted to eat an entire candy bar just because it’s there. Having healthy non-medicated snacks on hand is always a good precaution.
Edibles tend to have a soporific effect, making them especially effective for insomniacs. Avoid eating them during the day until you know your ideal dose. If you suffer from pain and want to treat it with edibles while the sun’s still up, ask your budtender to recommend a sativa-based product, and save the indicas for evening relaxation. Arm yourself with knowledge, and you’ll find that edibles can be a very pleasant way to enjoy the benefits of cannabis.