Pot brownies have made their way into mainstream culture for years, in movies like Dazed & Confused, Smiley Face, and Adventureland, which glorify taking something delicious (like chocolate) and combining it with something rebellious (like a high-inducing herb), either intentionally or on accident. But here’s the truth: our cannabis culture has evolved, and so has how we treat these yummy treats; edibles are no longer limited to brownies, and there are guidelines for eating them responsibly.
Edibles are cannabis-infused foods, which are made with cannabinoids such as THC or CBD. They come in all kinds of forms, including baked goods, drinks, cooking oils, butter, and liqueurs. Edibles are consumed and ingested, whereas smoking or vaping marijuana is inhaled.
These separate methods of consumption are not the same, and have contrasting effects — it’s important to understand the difference when taking edibles.
Though there’s no right or wrong way to use marijuana, there is a definite guide to proper edible consumption. Here’s what you need to know.
When eating edibles, it’s important to start low. Start with a single serving with a low dosage of THC. A serving, defined by Colorado law, is up to 10 mg of THC; it’s recommended, however, that first-time users use 5 mg to begin. The “First Time 5” campaign, sponsored by the Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation, echoes this sentiment. Remember, many packaged edibles come in sizes with multiple servings, up to 100 mg: they are not intended to be eaten in one sitting.
Remembering to start low is important because edibles are more potent than inhaling marijuana: they produce a much stronger and longer-lasting effect, which comes down to the way that the cannabis is metabolized. Essentially, you don’t need as much to feel something, but it takes a bit longer to feel it.
ConsumeResponsibly.org reminds edible users that every person has a different level of tolerance-the amount of THC it takes to produce a high is individualized. Similarly, not all marijuana products are the same.
How quickly you consume the edible matters: go slow. It can take up to two hours to feel any effects-don’t make the mistake of eating more because the high is not immediate. There’s a big difference between smoking marijuana, where the high is instant, and eating an edible, where the wait can be lengthy.
In fact, the variance is scientific. In an article from the Daily Beast, Mitch Earleywine, author of Understanding Marijuana, gives his take:
“In a nutshell, eaten cannabis gets metabolized by the liver, so delta-9 THC becomes 11-hydroxy-THC, which passes the blood-brain barrier more rapidly and has more of a psychedelic effect than standard THC. Smoked or vaporized cannabis bypasses the liver and doesn’t create the same 11-hydroxy-THC.”
According to the First Time 5 rhetoric, treats like brownies and chocolate and other baked goods are dense, so they take longer to digest, making the wait time to feel the effects longer. Wait until the next time to up the dosage by a very small amount; for example, from 5 to 10 mg on a different day. Remember, patience is a virtue.
Safety is a very important factor for proper edible consumption, let alone all marijuana use:
- Location is key. Pick a place to eat the edible where you feel both comfortable and safe. This also depends on the person-some people prefer the comfort of home, whereas others favor the company of the outdoors.
- Read the packaging. The label is there to help you, and can act as a helpful guide-pay attention to servings and amounts. A budtender can address any additional questions or concerns, and give their consumption advice.
- Don’t mix. As a first-time user, do not mix an edible with alcohol. That cross-fade can wait. Like the 10 Commandments of Edibles state, “this should only be attempted by masters of both substances.”
- Don’t drive. Just like with drinking, it’s illegal to consume marijuana and drive or operate heavy machinery, as cannabis impairs cognitive abilities. Skills such as tracking, motor coordination, visual function, and divided attention are impacted. Understand the law and your limit.
- Keep away from kids. Edibles, like all cannabis products, are for adult use. Please keep all edibles out of the hands of anyone under 21.
- Buy responsibly. It’s of critical importance to purchase edibles from a reliable source. There’s no reason to buy edibles wrapped in non-marked pliofilm wrap-now dispensaries offer infused goods for retail sale, eliminating that element of danger. For a list of edibles near you, check out Leafbuyer.com’s ‘Best of the Best’ list, which features all sorts of edibles available for purchase.
For every brownie, chocolate bar, drink, or muffin, cannabis-infused edibles have a proper set of guidelines to proper edible consumption. It’s possible to enjoy the positive effects of marijuana in a yummy treat while staying safe. Enjoy, and don’t forget — eating edibles can be a blast if you do it right.