It’s easy to accidentally over-indulge when consuming edibles - especially for those who may be new to the world of cannabis-infused food and drinks. To better understand what to expect when consuming edibles, we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to cannabis edibles. From the best edibles for beginners to how long they last, we’ll answer some of the most common questions.
Curious about the best edibles for beginners? What to look out for on product labels? Join as we explore everything you need to know about cannabis edibles.
What are Edibles?
Cannabis edibles are defined as “any food product that contains cannabinoids, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).” It’s a broad spectrum that includes things like the stereotypical “pot brownie” and has expanded to include sparkling beverages, savory snack foods, and delicious desserts like ice cream and cakes.
Do They Taste Like Cannabis?
Yes and no. How much an edible tastes like cannabis depends on a variety of factors, including the flavor profile of the edible and its potency. Edibles with strong flavor profiles, like chocolate or coffee, will mask the taste of cannabis better than a lighter edible. Edibles with higher potency also tend to taste more like cannabis. If you’re concerned about an edible tasting too much like cannabis, speak with a budtender. He or she will help you select an edible with just the flavor profile you’re looking for.
What Are the Best Edibles for Beginners?
The best edibles for beginners are edibles with low potency. If you're new to cannabis edibles, we suggest starting with the lowest potency and working your way up. It's always possible to consume more, but impossible to consume less once it's in your system.
How Long Do Edibles Take to Work?
This is a tricky question because it ultimately depends on external factors, like the type of edible consumed, and physical factors, like your tolerance level and your metabolism. The difficulty in finding a clear answer is also why many users over-medicate the first time they take an edible.
In general, edibles take between 45 minutes and two hours to take effect, and liquid edibles (like teas, coffee, etc.) are typically felt 15 to 60 minutes after ingesting. If it’s your first time taking edibles, wait at least two hours before consuming more. Here’s a dosing chart that can help.
How Long Do The Effects of an Edible Last?
One thing to keep in mind when taking a cannabis edible is that the effects last much longer than they do if you’re smoking. Some edibles can last as long as eight hours, while those in liquid form typically cap out at five hours. Of course, this varies from edible to edible, so be prepared to spend most, if not all, of your day “under the influence” of cannabis.
How Do Edibles Work?
Edibles work by being digested and then metabolized by the liver. The cannabinoids then reach the brain. This is why it takes longer to feel the effects of an edible - when someone smokes, the lungs metabolize the cannabinoids, and then reach the brain through the bloodstream.
What are CBD and THC?
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two natural compounds found in cannabis plants. CBD can be extracted from hemp or cannabis, has anti-inflammatory properties, and won’t make you feel mentally incapacitated. THC, on the other hand, is the component of cannabis that makes you incapacitated. It can also be used in pain management.
Most edibles contain both THC and CBD. If you’re looking for something less intense, opt for an edible with a more balanced (50/50) ratio of THC and CBD. The higher the THC, the more extreme the effects will be.
What is Potency?
“Potency” is a word used to describe how strong edibles are. It’s usually calculated by how many milligrams of THC or CBD an edible contains. The strongest edibles contain over 1,000mg of THC, and low-potency edibles can contain as little as 1mg. If you’re just starting out, we recommend starting with a low potency first and moving your way up.
What Should I Look for On Product Labels?
Since the cannabis industry is still in its infancy, cannabis products aren’t subjected to FDA regulations, and finding products with clearly labeled packaging can be difficult. When trying to find the best edible for you, keep an eye out for products with a clear label, and are properly packaged.
Support companies that have taken the initiative and to provide a lot of information, quality packaging, etc. Not only does this make it easier for you to understand what you’re consuming, but it means they’re taking steps to ensure their products are safe and consistent across the board.
How Much Should I Eat?
Again, the proper dosage depends on your tolerance, metabolism, and weight. Trial and error will be the only way to find the perfect dosage for you. A standard starting dose is 10mg, but we recommend starting small with 1-2.5mg and then adding another 1-2.5mg the next time you take edibles until you find your sweet spot. Just remember- once you’ve eaten an edible, there’s no going back, so always err on the side of caution.
What Can I Expect to Feel?
While the effects vary depending on the person consuming the edible (and the type of edible consumed), most users say that eating an edible gives more of a body effect. However, one thing to keep in mind: edibles are also often associated with intense feelings that can be unpredictable.
Are Edibles Dangerous?
Yes and no. While there are no deaths directly associated with cannabis consumption, accidentally consuming too much cannabis can result in side effects ranging from dizziness and anxiety to vomiting. Some people might also be allergic to cannabis, so if you have trouble breathing consult an emergency medical professional immediately.
Consuming cannabis can also cause feelings of anxiety and panic. If you leave with mental health conditions, cannabis can trigger psychotic episodes. Please consult your doctor before trying cannabis.
Help! I Think I took Too Much! What Do I Do?
We have an entire blog on the subject, but the short version is: distract yourself, go for a walk, move to a calm, quiet room, eat something, drink water, and reassure yourself that everything will be OK. If you feel threatened or physically ill, consult a medical professional for more information.
Do Edibles Expire?
Yes, like all food cannabis edibles do expire eventually. Pre-packaged cannabis edibles will have an expiration date printed on the package, and homemade cannabis edibles typically last about a week. Fortunately, you can extend their shelf life by wrapping them in plastic wrap or foil and putting them in the freezer. As with other food, you can smell your edibles before consuming them. If it doesn’t smell like something you’d want to eat, it’s probably best not to consume it.
Can I Make My Own Edibles?
You sure can! Many patients prefer to make their own edibles. Here’s a recipe on how to make DIY cannabutter, which you can use in many of your day-to-day recipes.
If you have any other questions about cannabis edibles or simply need some help selecting the best edibles for beginners, head into our flagship Baltimore dispensary. One of our budtenders will be more than willing to help you select the right product for your unique needs.