Cannabis edibles offer a unique way to experience the benefits of THC without smoking or vaping. However, the variety of available options can be daunting for newcomers. Edibles are available in various forms, including gummies, hard candies, mints, drinks, capsules, and dissolvable powders. Each type delivers a different high that can help relieve pain, muscle spasms, and more.
Different types of cannabis edibles will provide different effects depending on the type of strain used. Edibles made from sativa strains are more energizing and stimulating for daytime use. Indica strains are more sedating and sleep-inducing, great for evening use. Cannabis edibles are food or snack items infused with cannabis oil to provide a controlled dosage and balanced ratio of cannabinoids. Gummies are the most common, but the options run from chocolates to dinner entrees and drinks. Chocolate is a natural pairing for cannabis. The reason is simple—cannabis and chocolate contain fat, which aids in absorbing the cannabinoid chemicals that create their effects. Chocolate also masks some of the more pungent and less-than-pleasant tastes of cannabis. Chocolate edibles come in various forms, from classic pot brownies to artisan-infused bonbons. They’re a convenient and discreet option and can be more accessible to dose than other edibles. Edibles can take up to two hours to kick in, but finding the correct dosage is personal and depends on several factors—your tolerance level, how much you’ve eaten, and even your weight can affect how long it takes for the edible to work. For this reason, it is essential to understand how much THC is contained in each edible before you consume it.
THC gummies are among the most popular types of cannabis edibles for their fun flavors and convenient size. At the same time, they offer the physical benefits of reducing pain and anxiety while improving sleep and appetite. When gummies are chewed, THC first travels through the stomach and liver before entering your bloodstream and brain. This is why it takes longer for the effects of gummies to kick in than puffs from a joint and lasts longer, up to four hours. However, if you use sublingual THC gummies (placed under the tongue), absorption is much quicker because it bypasses the digestive system. It also means the effect may kick in within a half hour. This is why it’s crucial to start with a low dose and build up your tolerance gradually. Also, keep in mind that THC can show up on drug tests.
Cannabis consumers often choose edibles because they believe that ingesting marijuana is a safer and less risky method of consumption than smoking or vaping. In addition, they often perceive that edibles provide a more calm and relaxed high than inhalation methods. Edibles also allow for metered dosing, as they can be labelled to the exact milligram. While many edible manufacturers have been focusing on increasing potency, others are experimenting with new ways to deliver cannabis to the consumer. For example, a brand has developed a mint that can be sucked sublingually to cut the onset time of edibles to an hour or two. This allows the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream more quickly and mitigates that pesky first-pass effect.
Hard candies are an excellent edible option for those who don’t want to smoke or need a quick dose. Candy bars are available that contain a low-to-medium dose of THC and are optimally balanced with CBD to moderate the effects. The candies are sugar or corn-syrup-based and are infused with THC or CBD to create an edible that is quick to start working on pain relief as the candies dissolve under your tongue and are absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth. The effects can be felt within minutes and can last for hours. You can make your cannabis lollipop at home by using a tincture made from THC or CBD weed and pouring the mix into a candy mold that is then sealed. The strength of the tincture will determine how high the THC or CBD levels in your lollipop will be.
For individuals who cannot smoke cannabis due to medical restrictions or prefer not to, edibles can be a convenient way to experience the effects of THC. However, making health-conscious and flavorful edibles can be challenging without using sugar or fats for solubility or masking purposes. To eliminate these challenges, a few companies have begun offering dissolvable powders. These powders are made from maltodextrin (a common ingredient in foods like cake mix) and sunflower lecithin, a natural emulsifier that helps keep opposing ingredients like water and oil bonded together. The beauty of this type of infused powder is that it can be mixed into any liquid, allowing consumers to make their cannabis-infused drinks. This method of consumption also allows for a more precise dose. Typically, the effects of regular edibles can take up to an hour or more to kick in, and it is easy to overdose on the wrong dosage, which can produce unpleasant side effects.
Baked goods are one of the most traditional ways to consume cannabis. Cookies, brownies, and other desserts with high-fat content can be easily infused with marijuana, as are drinks like coffee or tea. Before using marijuana in a baked good, it must be decarboxylated. This process converts the endocannabinoids found in raw cannabis into their psychoactive forms. Without this step, consuming cannabis would produce minimal effects. Infusing edibles is most commonly done with cannabutter, butter made by simmering marijuana buds in butter or oil. This extracts the cannabinoids and terpenes from the buds, which can then be used to make any recipe for butter or oil. A 1:1 ratio of marijuana to butter is typically recommended. This allows for precise dosing and a consistent result. However, some DIY edible enthusiasts may use more or less of the bud or cannabis oil, depending on their preferred effects.