Know what you’re putting in your mouth before it’s too late.
We’ve all heard the story. Someone ate a brownie, got too high and started freaking out. Scary edible stories range from unpleasant experiences and paranoia to hallucinations and even hospitalization.
Edibles are a different experience than smoking weed and present a whole new realm, even for well-seasoned pot smokers. If edibles are a first time experience, go slow. Being too high is never fun.
What’s the Difference?
Eating marijuana can go awry because the body processes THC differently depending on the method of consumption. When smoking or vaping weed, the THC enters the bloodstream through the lungs and passes quickly to the brain. The high is nearly instant, making it easy to control the buzz.
Edibles have to pass through the digestive system and be processed by the liver before anything happens. The liver breaks down the THC into a metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC. Researchers theorize that the powerful effects of edibles are because when 11-hydroxy-THC enters the bloodstream, it crosses the blood-brain barrier easier than THC.
THC-infused edibles are the most potent cannabis products available. The high from edibles is significantly longer than smoking, lasting as long as four to six hours. It may take from 30 minutes to two hours before feeling anything though. If a half hour passes and nothing happens, do a bong rip and relax. Wait for a couple of hours and let nature run its course before eating more.
Is It Just Brownies?
Pot brownies have been around so long that they are legendary. Edible pioneers baked with cannabutter, created by sautéing buds in butter. This method produced a THC infused butter suitable for baking. Unfortunately, the butter carried the taste of pot, and it was difficult to know the dosage taken.
Extraction techniques have improved, allowing bakers and cooks to create products with extracts that are nearly 100% THC or CBD and adding no weed taste. Thanks to legalization and technology edibles are no longer limited to brownies but include designer chocolates, lollipops, soft drinks, tinctures, Keurig coffee cups, gummies and so much more.
How Much is Enough?
In addition to improving flavor, nearly 100% pure extracts allow the creation of edibles with a more consistent dosage. Today edibles are clearly labeled, with the THC and CBD content listed in milligrams. Legalization also brings regulation, and in this case, that’s a good thing. Precise and standardized testing has eliminated the dosage guesswork.
Edibles vary in potency from as little as one to as high as 300 milligrams with a standard dose considered ten-milligrams. But every individual is different, and their response to an edible may vary considerably.
Individual reactions to edibles vary due to physiological factors. The gastrointestinal system plays a role in the effect of an edible, with the liver breaking down THC molecules more thoroughly in some people. The health of the endocannabinoid system also determines how THC reacts with cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabis use history is also a factor. A ten-milligram dose of THC is a good starting point for a regular cannabis user, someone who smokes daily and is trying edibles for the first time. A newcomer to the world of cannabis should start with a half dose. If the initial dose doesn’t produce the desired effects after a couple of hours, take another dose.
Proper labeling, quality lab testing, and a little knowledge make it easy to use edibles safely. Starting with the conventional dosage and adjusting based on personal requirements and physiology will ensure the first experience with edibles is enjoyable.
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Akens, Kirsten. “The Beginner’s Guide to Edibles.” Lifehacker, Lifehacker.com, 18 Dec. 2017.Southern California Public Radio. “Go Slow with the Edibles: Why Eating Pot Is Different than Smoking It.” Southern California Public Radio, 29 Jan. 2017.