What are edibles?
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Cannabis edibles refer to food or drinks that are infused with cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD, CBN, CBG, and THCV. THC is the main compound that provides a psychoactive effect, while CBD and other cannabinoids offer medical and recreational benefits.
To make edibles, cannabis is typically infused into a fat-soluble medium like butter or oil. Examples of these infusions include cannabutter, cannabis coconut oil, and cannabis cooking oil. The infused medium can then be used to prepare various food items like baked goods, salad dressings, and soup broths. Another popular option is infusing cannabis with alcohol to create tinctures or making gummies.
Edibles are known for their potency because the THC is metabolized into a more potent form, called 11-hydroxy-THC, by our digestive systems and livers. This form of THC also has a longer-lasting effect compared to smoking or vaping. It is important to be cautious when consuming edibles as it is common for people to consume too much and have an uncomfortable experience.
It is recommended for both new consumers and experienced users to “start low and go slow” when consuming edibles. This means starting with a small amount, waiting for the effects to kick in, and then deciding if more is needed. To learn more about edibles, including their benefits, dosing, and other information, you can refer to our comprehensive guide on cannabis edibles.
How Do edibles Work?
Edibles work by being consumed orally and going through the digestive system. Unlike smoked or vaped cannabis, which is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs, edibles need to be digested and metabolized in the stomach and liver. As a result, the effects of edibles take longer to onset compared to smoking or vaping. However, once the cannabinoids in edibles are processed by the body, they can be more potent and have a longer-lasting effect than smoked or vaped marijuana.
THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, requires binding to fat for proper processing by the body and for the desired effects to be felt. Typically, people choose to infuse butter or oil with cannabis due to their high-fat content. The infused fat is then used as an ingredient in making edibles.
Before the infusion process, cannabis needs to undergo decarboxylation, which activates the compounds within it and enables absorption by the body. Decarboxylation usually occurs through heat exposure. When smoking weed, this happens when the flame of a lighter is applied. In the case of making an infusion for edibles, decarboxylation is typically achieved by heating the cannabis at a low temperature in an oven before it is infused into the oil or butter.
When Will Edibles Kick In?
Do not anticipate an immediate onset of effects after consuming an edible. Due to the process of digestion, the effects of edibles typically reach their peak around 1-2 hours after ingestion and gradually subside over a span of 2-3 hours. In contrast, the effects of smoked cannabis usually peak within 10 minutes and rapidly diminish within 30-60 minutes. These time frames are approximate, as individual metabolic rates and external factors such as consuming on an empty stomach, age, and preexisting conditions can influence the duration.
Although edibles may feel potent, they actually deliver a lower concentration of cannabinoids to the bloodstream compared to inhaled cannabis. When ingesting edibles, only about 10-20% of their THC and other cannabinoids are introduced to blood plasma, whereas inhaled cannabis can reach a range of 50-60%.
Furthermore, it is important to note that consuming high quantities of potent smoked cannabis does not affect one’s tolerance to edibles. Even individuals with extensive experience in cannabis consumption can be affected by a low-dose edible.
Different Types of Edibles
There is a wide variety of cannabis edibles available, including:
- Gummies and chewable candies
- Baked goods like brownies, cookies, and other treats
- Chocolates and caramels
- Ice cream infused with cannabis
- Mint products and breath strips
- Lozenges and lollipops
- Cannabis-infused sodas and other beverages
- Novelty items such as beef jerky, potato chips, and more
Creating cannabis edibles is a combination of science and art, allowing us to incorporate our favorite plant into our favorite snacks and treats. With so many options, it can be overwhelming, but your local budtender is there to assist you in navigating the extensive selection.
If you have specific dietary needs, such as allergies to animal products, you may want to avoid gelatin-based gummies, baked goods, and certain chocolates. For a quicker onset of effects, cannabis beverages or lozenges tend to work faster compared to cookies or beef jerky. Different companies use various methods to infuse their edibles, such as cannabis-infused butter, distillate oil, or hash. It is advisable for consumers to ask questions, read labels, and research the brands they are considering purchasing from to make informed choices.
Most Common Types of Edibles
Without a doubt, gummies infused with cannabis are the most prevalent and widely favored type of edible. These gummies have gained popularity due to their versatility, convenient dosage, appealing nature, and ease of production. Alongside gummies, chocolate bars and baked goods are also commonly consumed as edibles. With advancements in emulsion and infusion technologies, cannabis beverages have emerged as another popular and expanding category of edibles.
Edible Vs. Flower
Edibles can be a suitable option for both medical patients and recreational users who prefer to avoid smoking or vaping cannabis and desire a more potent and sustained experience.
Unlike other forms of cannabis consumption, edibles eliminate the need for direct contact with the cannabis plant, thereby avoiding exposure to smoke, vapor, and potential carcinogens resulting from plant combustion.
One notable advantage of edibles is their extended duration of effects compared to other methods. This is particularly beneficial for individuals managing chronic conditions like pain, inflammation, and nausea.
Given their potency and prolonged effects, edibles are often favored by individuals dealing with insomnia, as they can help promote longer periods of uninterrupted sleep.
Benefits of Edible Consumption
Edibles offer several benefits that make them appealing to many individuals. Firstly, they provide an alternative to smoking, eliminating the need to inhale smoke and reducing exposure to harmful carcinogens. This not only protects the lungs but also prevents the lingering smoke smell.
Another advantage of edibles is their discreet nature. Unlike traditional smoking methods that require going outside or using various devices, edibles can be consumed inconspicuously by simply eating them, allowing users to go about their day without drawing attention.
Edibles are particularly valued for their long-lasting effects, which can provide sustained relief for chronic symptoms such as pain. Many medical patients prefer edibles for their potential to alleviate pain, and formulations containing both THC and CBD are often found to be most effective, as they engage a broader range of receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
In addition to pain relief, edibles are also sought after for their potential to alleviate anxiety and induce relaxation. It is recommended to opt for low-dose edibles with a higher CBD content to address anxiety without causing overstimulation, avoiding high-THC and sativa-based products.
Sleep-focused edibles are gaining popularity, as they offer formulations that combine different ratios of cannabinoids with sleep aids like melatonin. Edibles incorporating indica-dominant cannabis, known for its relaxing effects, are often preferred for promoting sleep. The sedating properties of CBN have also made it a popular addition to sleep-focused edibles.
Overall, edibles provide a versatile and discrete method of cannabis consumption, offering relief for various conditions such as pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders.