The Edible Survival Guide
The world of weed edibles is vast—and continues to grow. There are various forms of edibles, such as gummies, brownies, cookies, hard candies, mints, drinks, capsules and dissolvable tablets. Exploring all these options can be a fun adventure, but edibles can also be intimidating because their effects last so much longer than when cannabis is inhaled. And once you ingest them, there’s no turning back. With that said, whether you’re a total newbie to the world of cannabis edibles or you’re back from a long break, it’s important to know what to expect before diving in or back in.
What are Edibles?
Edibles are defined as a cannabis-based food product, and are touted as a way to have fun, but also as a way to manage some health conditions, particularly chronic pain and sleep issues.
- There is some research to suggest they can be helpful. Specifically, there is strong evidence that cannabis can help reduce chronic pain symptoms and moderate evidence that it can help alleviate short-term sleep issues associated with some health conditions, according to a comprehensive 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
- Much of what we know about cannabis in medicine comes from either animal studies or anecdotal evidence. Although these types of studies can be helpful, experts would generally like to see much larger and more robust studies before offering specific recommendations about how to manage symptoms.
- This gap in research is a by-product of the legal status of cannabis in the U.S. Right now, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug, which is the federal government’s most restrictive category. The prohibitionist mindset that keeps cannabis there is the same system that continues to support a drug war that sends far too many people—particularly Black and brown people—to prison and props up law enforcement systems that perpetuate racist violence. This is one reason it’s crucial to be mindful and intentional about where you spend your money on cannabis products, prioritizing diverse-owned dispensaries and products wherever possible.
- Subsequently, without much guidance, the consumer is left to make a lot of choices about which products to use on their own. Although that trial-and-error process can be intimidating, it can also be fun. “Enjoy the experimentation because it should be enjoyable. Even if the product you’re using isn’t ultimately right for you, take this time to be mindful and learn more about how your body reacts to these experiences. Cannabis offers one of those rare opportunities that we can pause and evaluate.
Tip #1: Determine if edibles are right for you.
Edible cannabis products are particularly helpful for some people at managing some health conditions, but they’re not necessarily right for everybody. So, first, think about what you want to get out of this cannabis experience and, maybe with the help of your doctor or a specialist, determine whether an edible is the best way to achieve that. For instance, inhaling or smoking cannabis will allow the compounds in it to act quickly, but the effects will only last three to four hours.
- Edibles are often a better choice for those who need a longer-acting effects, such as those who are diagnosed with insomnia or chronic pain.
Tip #2: Start with a low dose and take a good look at the product label.
The cardinal rule with cannabis (and especially edibles) is to start low and go slow – in other words, start with a low dose and wait before taking any more.
- In regard to edibles, 5 mg of THC is generally considered a low dose, however, if you’re more sensitive to substances like this, you can start off with an even lower dose of 1 to 0.25mg – And if you know you want a lower dose to start with, it’s a good idea to choose a product that comes in that specific dose.
- A more moderate dose would be around 10 to 15 mg and a high dose would be upwards of 20 mg. More experienced cannabis users may need to take 20-30mg to get their desired effects, but most people can get what they’re after between 5-10mg.
The product you’re using should clearly say on the label how much THC it contains so you can take the right dose.
Tip #3: Take your first dose in the evening as a precaution.
The first time you try a new cannabis edible product, we recommend using it in the evening. That way, if you do need to hit the hay, it’s not an issue and you can adjust the dose accordingly next time to make it easier to stay awake. That way if you overshoot, then you can go to sleep and not worry about running your entire day.
- One of the most common effects of cannabis is to make you feel relaxed and sleepy. That can certainly be a plus for many people, but others want to be able to use cannabis to manage the symptoms of a condition—and actually still be able to function.
Tip #4: Wait at least two hours before taking more.
Edibles notoriously take a while to start working—sometimes up to two hours. If you’re used to consuming cannabis via vaping or smoking, this might be a challenge, but if you’re not feeling relief in a few minutes, that does not mean you should take more.
- You might get a little frustrated or bored and be tempted to take more because you assume that the first dose simply didn’t work. Then, of course, the first and second doses kick in and you’re suddenly in way over your head.
- The THC, CBD and other compounds in cannabis work by interacting with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. This system, which is composed of different types of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body and the brain, supports a huge variety of bodily functions, including appetite, mood, memory, pain perception, and body temperature regulation. When these systems are overloaded due to, say, eating a bunch of pot brownies, you can feel confused, anxious, dizzy, and nauseous.
*** This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional. ***