Have you ever seen weed edibles for sale at a dispensary and wondered what they were all about? They look like such harmless little goodies, you wonder if one itty bitty morsel could really pack that much of a punch. Well, they can, and they do!
Edibles are a fantastic way to consume cannabis but maybe less familiar to some than smoking. They operate slightly differently in the body and have a more varied outcome than smoking marijuana due to the nature of digesting them. Here we will answer a few questions, like how edibles work and how long they take to kick in.
What Are Edibles?
The term “edibles” refers to cannabis forms that you ingest (eat) rather than inhale. They often come in the form of chews, gummy bears, lollipops, chocolates, mints, cookies, and so on. Edibles also include products like marijuana tea, beverages, and infused honey. Even using shake to make tea falls into the edible category.
Commercial edibles (like what you would buy at a dispensary) are typically made using cannabis concentrates, such as hash oil, distillates, or infused oils or butter. The oil/butter is then carefully measured and incorporated into a recipe. The final products are portioned appropriately for a reasonable dose per serving.
Homemade “loaded” baked goods are edibles as well, but dosages are harder to measure. It is worthwhile finding weed edibles for sale at a dispensary, where dosages are accurately measured and reliable.
Why Take Edibles?
Edibles are a good choice over smoking in situations that require subtlety when rolling in stinking like a skunk might be less than ideal for your social standing. They tend to be more potent and long-lasting, which is ideal for certain applications (like helping with sleep) but inadvisable for others. You still get red eyes and pasties, so if subtlety is the name of the game, be sure to dose appropriately (more on this below).
If you have an ongoing lung condition, or even if you have a cough and want to be kind to your respiratory system, edibles are a great way to gain the benefits of cannabis without inhaling smoke. While cannabis is a bronchodilator, the carcinogens from burning the plant matter can be tough on the lungs. THC taken in edible form can even give relief to asthma patients due to its effects on cannabinoid receptors in the lungs.
How Edibles Absorb Into The Body
The obvious answer is: through the mouth! But clearly, there’s much more to it than that.
The process of digestion begins in the mouth. Aside from the mechanical process of chewing, chemical breakdown starts with the saliva. When you put food in your mouth, or even just before, you begin to salivate. The saliva begins the breakdown process for starches, including sugars.
Edibles like mints or hard candies that dissolve in the mouth will be integrated faster than foods that go to the stomach for breakdown. This sublingual absorption sends the THC directly to the bloodstream without having to be digested by the stomach.
If you are eating more food-like edibles (gummies, brownies, etc.), these will be sent to the stomach for digestion and integration. They travel through the digestive tract and are then metabolized by the liver.
Edibles react differently in the body than inhaling marijuana because the liver breaks the THC down into a different form than smoking does. Smoked or vaped THC presents in the body as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and gives the headier, shorter-lived high. Ingested THC turns into 11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol, which is longer-lasting and more sedative.
How Long Do Edibles Take to Kick In?
The lag time for edibles varies from person to person and is subject to many outside factors. A person’s metabolism has a lot to do with absorption time, as well as the amount of food you have in your stomach. Consuming fats with edibles makes for a more effective absorption rate and can help hasten the process. Some even claim that exercise makes edibles metabolize faster.
Typically, digested edibles will take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to kick in. Really strong edibles might begin to take effect sooner, in which case you’ll hope you didn’t take too big a serving! Effects typically peak within the first 3 hours and can last for up to 8 – 12 hours.
Sublingual candies or drops will usually begin to work within 20 minutes. However, since they go directly to the bloodstream and bypass the liver breakdown process, the THC is still in the delta-9-THC form. This form will act faster but also end sooner. Usually, cannabis in this form is taken in smaller and more frequent doses.
How to Take Edibles Safely
The best way to start your edible journey is to find weed edibles for sale at a reliable dispensary. Manufactured edibles are accurately dosed and tested, which is especially crucial if you’re just starting to experiment. You can always eat more, but you can’t eat less!
The general rule of thumb with edibles is: Start low and go slow! A good starting dose for someone with a low tolerance (i.e. someone who doesn’t regularly consume cannabis products) would be a 2.5-milligram serving. Someone who tokes on the regular could start with a 5-7 milligram dose and take it from there.
It is best to wait two hours for the effects of the edibles. If, after that time, you aren’t getting the desired results, try taking another small portion.
Don’t take edibles on an empty stomach. They may process quicker this way, but it might give side effects like a stomach ache or a less pleasant high. If you must take edibles on an empty stomach, be sure to start with a smaller dose and drink plenty of water. People suffering from IBS or other digestive sensitivities may want to steer clear of edibles to avoid further irritation of their digestive tract.
The Magic of Edibles!
With an absorption rate nearly double that of inhaled marijuana, edibles give you lots of bang for your buck. There are all kinds of flavours and forms to check out and find what appeals to you most. If you’re interested in trying your hand or creating a custom flavour, check out our guide to making edibles from distillates.
Whichever route you decide to take, remember to start low and go slow. Finding a balance with edibles can be a longer-lasting and healthier alternative to smoking marijuana. Plus, you get to snack on a tasty little vittle to get high – can it get any better?