While cannabis-infused foods and drinks are a healthy and effective alternative to smoking, there are a few things newcomers should know before they take their first bite. Even those used to cannabis must take it easy initially to determine their own tolerance level. As the saying goes, “start low and go slow”.
How Cannabis Edibles Affect the Body
The endocannabinoid system is the key to THC metabolism in the body. Endocannabinoids, while similar to cannabinoids, are produced naturally by the body as needed. They contribute to various bodily functions, including sleep, appetite, memory and mood. The endocannabinoid receptors are found in the central and peripheral nervous systems. When THC enters the body, it binds to these receptors and can exert considerable effects on both body and mind.
It is vital to know what to expect about the types of experiences you may have after consuming edibles. Smoking or vaping is the fastest way to experience the effects of cannabis. After entering the lungs, the THC enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain, with an average onset of 20 minutes. That is definitely not the case with edibles, which have an average onset of 1-2 hours, and one of the reasons some people have less than ideal reactions to their edibles introduction. You may know someone who will never try cannabis again after making the mistake of consuming an entire brownie.
When you eat or drink cannabis edibles, the THC is absorbed via the digestive tract and processed through the liver. This series of events takes much longer, as much as 45 minutes to two hours. People make the mistake of taking the correct dose, but when they don’t feel anything after some time passes, they take another dose. They end up getting much higher than they ever intended. Properly dosing cannabis edibles also means realizing you must wait for the effects.
The effects from an edible lasts longer than from vaping or smoking. Most people feel high for an hour or two after smoking, while the effects of an edible can last several hours.
Edible dosage is as much an art as a science. While the general dose of a cannabis edible is 5 mg of THC – the equivalent of smoking half a joint – the THC per dose should really depend on your experience and tolerance level. If you have never used edibles before, and especially if you are not familiar with cannabis, start with a low dose. Keep the beginning dose in the 2.5 to 5 mg range. That just involves cutting the edible in half.
How to Find the Right Edible
Edibles come in all sorts of varieties. When starting out, choose an edible easily broken into pieces, so you can take half or a quarter of a dose to see how it affects you. If going the tincture route, start with 50 percent of the recommended dosage.
As with other types of cannabis, you may want to try various kinds of edibles to discover which work best for your needs. Our trained Cannabis Advisors can assist you, answer questions about the product and provide recommendations based on your input.
Garden Remedies is changing the conversation about cannabis. We are the only physician-led and woman-led dispensary in the Commonwealth. Visit one of our three Massachusetts dispensaries, in Marlborough, Melrose and Newton, or call us at (844) 344-2420. You can also set up a virtual consultation on our website or use the chatbot feature. For all other inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane Meggitt’s work has appeared in dozens of publications, including USA Today, Zack’s, Financial Advisor, nj.com, The Houston Chronicle and The Nest. She is a graduate of New York University.