Cannabis Edibles 101
If you're new to cannabis-infused edibles, you'll need a full introductory breakdown of the many types of edibles available at the Zen Leaf dispensary near you. Consider this your quick resource guide to familiarize yourself with what edibles are, the different types of edibles, and ways to enhance your experience when enjoying edibles.
What Exactly is a Cannabis Edible?
We’re glad you asked!
A cannabis edible refers to any food product that is infused with cannabis. More often referred to as simply "edibles," these treats come in many forms and can be enjoyed in many creative ways. Gone are the days when your selection was limited to "special brownies" (though these are still delicious). Today, the creation of newer cannabis-infused treats allows users to make their experience much more unique, personalized, and flavor-focused.
The Simplified Science Behind Edibles
How you consume your cannabis matters. Anyone who has tried different forms of cannabis will soon discover that varying your consumption method allows you to create remarkably different experiences.
Edibles are packed full of cannabinoids, which are the therapeutic compounds found inside the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids—primarily THC and CBD—interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in your body to exert an effect on mood, sleep, appetite, pain response, inflammation, and more. Edibles are unique from other forms of cannabis primarily because they do not take effect until the cannabinoids have been metabolized and released into your bloodstream. This metabolizing, though, creates a drastically different medicating experience.
Delta-9 THC, the compound that gets you “high,” must be broken down like anything else you consume.This metabolizing through the liver, however, converts delta-9 THC to 11-hydroxy THC - cannabinoid that induces effects roughly 5x’s more potent when compared to smoking. And, this metabolization takes time, so you don’t feel the effects of the cannabis edible anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours after consuming.
There’s an important adage for eating edibles for these very reasons - start low and go slow. Always start with a low dose edible, 2.5-5mg to start, in order to gauge how they make you feel. If, after two hours, you do not seem to feel the effects you’re seeking, try adding another 2.5-5mg dose. When starting an edibles routine, be sure to take notes of the various doses you try and the experience they provide.
Now, where edibles can feel more potent at seemingly lower doses, they also have longer effects. Smoking cannabis or vaping produces effects that last 2-4 hours. Edibles, on the other hand, last for 4-6, and up to 8 hours, making them a great solution for all-day relief.
Patients who use edibles for medicinal purposes can see significant benefits from consuming their cannabis products orally. Cancer patients, for example, often benefit from the appetite increase that edibles provide because the release time and concentration of edibles help them reduce the nausea and vomiting often experienced after chemo sessions.
Types of Edibles
Edibles can come in an extraordinary variety of foods, and availability will depend on your location. The following list gives an overview of the most popular types of edibles available.
No matter what type of edibles you prefer to enjoy, always remember to do so with caution to ensure you are consuming the recommended dose labeled on the package. You should also make sure that any cannabis-infused foods are safely out of reach of anyone under the legal age, as well as any household pets.
The Pros and Cons of Using Edible Cannabis Products
Similar to other forms of cannabis consumption, there are pros and cons to using edible cannabis products. Ultimately your decision to use (or not use) edibles will depend heavily on one or more of these factors.
Edibles Offer Variety
The primary reason many users like edibles is because of the variety of treats available for consumption. You can go classic with brownies, try a lozenge or gummy, drink a soda, or sip a cup of coffee. Thanks to all the prepackaged products found in dispensaries near you, the options are plentiful.
Edibles Are Better For Those Who Cannot Smoke
Asthma, COPD, or another respiratory issue can make inhaling cannabis uncomfortable or impossible for many users. Edibles offer these users a safer consumption method and allow them to enjoy the effects of cannabis without stress on their lungs. Edibles are also a preferred option for those who do not have respiratory issues and simply wish to avoid the smell associated with traditional inhalation methods.
Edibles Have Longer-Lasting Effects
Edibles spread to the rest of the body after the metabolization process has been completed in the gut. The THC is metabolized into another form of THC, meaning that both forms will continue to have a lasting effect on the user. In cases of medicinal use, the effects allow users to experience longer periods of relief between doses which is very helpful for issues related to appetite and sleep.
Edibles Take Longer to Take Effect
Compared to other forms of consumption, edibles take much longer to take effect. For example, inhaling cannabis smoke allows the cannabinoids to reach the blood vessels serving the lungs almost immediately, while digestion of an edible can take 30 minutes to an hour, and sometimes two. Though edible products last longer once they are metabolized, they also take longer to provide relief from issues like nausea or chronic pain, which can be rough for users in need of fast relief.
Dosage May Be Hard to Regulate
While professionally produced cannabis edibles must include dosage information on the package, the same is not true of homemade edibles you create using cannabis-infused oils. Inconsistent dosage in edibles can make them tricky to use, especially for first-timers.
The first time many users try edibles, they run into one of two issues—they may initially eat too much, or they may fail to wait long enough for the edible to take effect and consume more. Both situations often result in unpleasant first-time experiences. If you are new to edibles or trying a new edible product, wait for at least 1.5 to 2 hours before consuming more of the edible to give it ample time to metabolize and travel through your bloodstream.
Just like dosage, the quality of edibles can vary, especially if you choose to make your own at home. Professional cannabis product manufacturers who sell their items in approved dispensaries must adhere to strict quality control measures and regulations regarding cannabinoid potency. For example, manufacturers must take measures to account for pesticides used, sanitary processing methods, and cannabinoid potency measurements. As a consumer, you should always research your options and support the qualified brands available at a trusted dispensary like Zen Leaf.
Cannabis Edible FAQs
If you're looking to learn all you can learn about cannabis edibles, it's important to know the answers to these common questions.
Final Thoughts on Edibles
As edible cannabis products continue to grow in popularity, so will their usage. With edibles in such high demand, one can only assume that the number of available products will continue to grow into the foreseeable future. That means that if you are interested in trying edibles for the first time, you can rest assured that there is a product that will allow you to experience your desired effects. If you are an experienced cannabis user, you can rejoice at the growing number of ways to consume cannabis in this unique and ever-changing form.
Edibles make great additions to the repertoire of any cannabis user who prefers variety and enjoys the experience of trying something new. Make edibles part of your consumption rotation if it suits you, and be sure to ask a cannabis professional about the products that may support your goals.