Every Question You’ve Ever Had About Marijuana Edibles Answered
Edibles are all the rage these days, so much so that these cannabis-laced food and drink products are quickly overtaking smoking as the preferred method of weed consumption.
But getting to grips with the ins and outs of eating marijuana can feel a little overwhelming, especially if you’re new to it all. That’s why we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide, where you’ll find the answers to all of your burning questions.
So sit back, relax and join us on a fascinating journey through the wonderful world of marijuana edibles.
What Are Edibles?
Edibles are any food product that contains cannabis. Humans have been creating edible cannabis concoctions for millennia now. But up until recently, most western folk’s experience with edibles was limited to the classic ‘space cake’ or ‘pot brownie’ that’s been popular with stoners since the 60s and 70s.
And while these time-honored psychoactive treats are still a staple for many marijuana users, the market has exploded with a wide range of new edible options in the last few years. Now, you can buy cannabis in countless forms, such as gummies, chocolates, candies, mints, savory snacks, cooking oils, and even fizzy drinks.
How Do Edibles Work?
While smoking marijuana has an almost immediate effect, eating it is a little different. That’s because the human body can’t absorb the full spectrum of the plant’s beneficial properties by simply chewing on a bud.
Instead, edibles contain ‘activated’ or ‘decarboxylated’ cannabis, which has been heated to a specific temperature. This heating process changes the chemical structure and allows your body to utilize marijuana’s full medicinal and recreational benefits.
But eating activated marijuana still won’t give you that immediate effect that smoking does. Instead, edibles take longer for your body to process.
Cannabis ingested in liquid form, for example, a soda, or a drop of cannabis oil under the tongue, still reaches the bloodstream pretty quickly, in around 20 minutes.
But classic edibles, i.e., anything that needs to be digested, take longer to kick in. That’s because the cannabinoids must reach the liver and small intestine before they’re broken down and can enter the bloodstream. This process can take anywhere up to 2 hours, so remember to factor this in when planning your first experience with edibles.
Where Are Edibles Legal?
A lot has changed in the last ten years, and both medicinal and recreational marijuana is finally being legalized up and down the US.
And while the federal government is still digging its heels in when it comes to blanket legalization, since 2012, a total of 18 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational marijuana and a further 37 legalized medicinal marijuana. Not bad progress for less than a decade!
Here’s the current list of states where edibles are legal for recreational use:
What are THC and CBD?
Even if you’re not a seasoned pot user, you’ve probably heard about these two natural compounds, known as cannabinoids, found in cannabis.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is what gives marijuana its psychoactive effect. It works by binding with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, causing us to feel ‘high’. THC can be both relaxing and a bit stimulatory depending on the strain and cannabinoid profile of your cannabis, and it is also notably euphoric and mellowing.
CBD, or cannabidiol, on the other hand, has limited to no psychoactive effects and won’t get you stoned. While it won’t make you high, it has been shown to potentially be a source of a whole host of purported health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and pain, offering anti-inflammatory relief, and improving brain health.
Both THC and CBD are found in most edibles, but their ratios vary depending on the strain of cannabis used. If you’re looking to get both physical benefits and enjoy the feeling of being high, then choose an edible with a higher ratio of THC to CBD. Opt for an edible with around 50% CBD and 50% THC for a less intense yet mellow high, and choose a CBD dominant strain if you want to minimize any psychoactive effects.
What Is Sativa and Indica?
Sativa and Indica are the two primary types of cannabis plants, and although the terms are being used less these days, you’re still likely to come across them when shopping for edibles both online and in-person at a dispensary.
In general, Sativa plants have a higher ratio of THC to CBD and give a more energetic high while reducing anxiety and improving creativity and focus. Edibles made from Sativa plants are perfect for daytime use when you want a little buzz while still being able to get things done.
Indica, on the other hand, is associated with a more ‘stoned’ or dopey high, perfect for an evening chilling on the couch (remember; indica “in da couch”). Indica plants have a sedative effect, so if you’re looking for an edible to help you sleep, this is a great place to start. In general, indica has a higher ratio of CBD to THC, although the THC content may still be high non the less.
What Are the Best Strains for Edibles?
Any strain of cannabis can be consumed as an edible, but choosing the right one for you depends on the kind of effects you want. Different strains have different degrees of THC and CBD and vary in their therapeutic and psychoactive properties.
If you’re new to edibles and you’d like to ease yourself in gently, it’s best to start with a ratio of less THC and more CBD. Then you can build up to higher concentrations of THC that will give you more of a buzz.
There are countless strains of cannabis out there, and each lends itself to a particular set of effects and benefits. A little further down this article, we’ll examine some of the various types of edibles and their different uses.
Which Edibles are The Strongest?
Edibles take longer to kick in than smoking a joint, and they are generally more potent and longer-lasting. That’s why it’s important to get your dose right, so you don’t end up consuming too much and having a bad time.
So, what are the recommended doses for edibles, and what’s considered a strong edible? The answer depends on a few different factors, such as weight, body chemistry, and level of tolerance, as well as how high you’d like to feel. Still, some general guidelines can help you find the correct dose and strength.
Since CBD alone doesn’t produce much of a psychoactive effect, the following measures concern THC content. Remember; the higher the level of THC, the stronger the effect.
Edible Dosing Guide (Your Mileage May Vary)
Edibles with between 1 and 2.5 mg of THC are the weakest edibles on the market
They’re generally considered a ‘microdose’ and are unlikely to leave you feeling high. That being said, you can still derive benefits from this low dose, such as reduced anxiety, depression, and pain.
Anything between 2.5 and 30 mg of THC is considered a mid-range dose
for recreational edibles, giving you a significantly more noticeable effect than a microdose without sending you to space.
Then we move up the scale to a 30-50mg dose, suited to people with a higher tolerance for THC and those wishing to have a longer-lasting and more hard-hitting effect.
50 – 100 mg edibles pack a serious punch and are best saved for experienced users
since the chances of unwanted side effects are much higher. And anything over 100 mg is a heroic dose that can wipe the floor with even the most seasoned potheads.
If you’re looking for a strictly therapeutic effect with less of a high, stick to edibles with a 50/50 balance of CBD: THC, or a higher CBD, lower THC ratio.
One of the great things about edibles is that you can adjust the dose based on your tolerance and preferences. Gummies are a particularly good edible for dose flexibility as they can be easily consumed in multiples. Different varieties of gummies have differing amounts of THC, but a standard dose is around 5mg per gummy, making it easy to calculate how many you’ll need to eat.
How Long Does It Take to Feel an Effect from Edibles?
This is where a lot of those new to edibles go very, very wrong. In fact, overdoing it on edibles is the primary cause of emergency room visits related to marijuana (don’t worry, no one has every medically OD’d on marijuana, but taking too much can be a bad time).
Here’s the deal, edibles take a LOT longer to take effect than when marijuana is smoked or vaped. Sometimes the effects from taking an edible won’t hit for up to 1-4 hours…yeah, that long.
Why? We’ll, when eaten, marijuana has to be processed by your digestive system, broken down, and slowly absorbed into the bloodstream. By contrast, the small dense capillaries of the lungs enable THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to rapidly be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Other factors that can cause edibles to take longer to take effect include how full your stomach is when eaten, and whether or not it’s taken with a fat-rich meal or snack (THC is fat-soluble so this can help with both the potency of effects as well as the time to take effect).
How Long Do The Effects Of Edibles Last?
They might take a long time to ‘kick in’, but the great thing about edibles is that they last a LONG time. While the effects generally peak between hours 1-6, slowly waning over time, the effects of some edibles can be mildly felt for more than 24 hours depending on dose and body chemistry. That said, most edibles completely wear off between 8-10 hours later.
What Edibles Help You Sleep?
Whichever edible you choose, you’ll likely find that a high enough dose helps you fall asleep at night. But there are some key things to consider to get the very best sleep-related benefits from your edibles.
Indica dominant strains tend to be the most effective sleep aids, thanks to the full-body, lazy high they produce. Strains with a higher ratio of THC also have a strong sedative effect and can help you to relax on both a mental and physical level.
But if you have insomnia, it’s important to figure out why before you choose an edible. If you’re losing sleep due to anxiety, then a CBD-heavy edible might be the way to go. CBD can help quiet a racing mind and promote more restful sleep without the need for a sedative THC-heavy approach.
Lots of dispensaries sell edibles specifically tailored towards sleep, and some even include additional supplements like melatonin to help send you off into a slumber.
What Edibles Make You Laugh?
Getting the giggles is one of the best parts about getting high, but not all edibles will have you laughing your socks off.
Most cannabis aficionados agree that Sativa dominant strains are the most laughter-inducing, as they tend to produce a more stimulating and energetic high.
The aptly named Laughing Buddha is a great example. At the right dose, this Sativa heavy strain will have you grinning and giggling in no time while also leaving you feeling relaxed and content for hours. It even won the Cannabis Cup back in 2003 for its joyful effects.
What Edibles are Good for Relaxing?
If you’re looking for a complete relaxation experience, opt for a THC-heavy edible using an Indica strain to wipe away both mental and physical stress. But if you’d rather quell the jitters while still being active and getting things done, then a higher ratio of CBD is the way to go. Either way, plenty of Indica’s are well known for causing a deep relaxing ‘couch locked’ state of mind and body, perfect for after a long stressful day.
What Are The Best Edibles for Anxiety?
While THC heavy edibles are great for relaxing, many people who suffer from anxiety respond negatively to these types of edibles.
But CBD-heavy strains (such as ACDC, with 14 % CBD and barely any THC) have been shown to have fantastic anxiety-relieving effects in numerous studies. These edibles leave you feeling noticeably more calm and relaxed, without the worry of getting too high.
What Are the Best Edibles for Female Arousal?
Cannabis can be a great addition to your sex life, and while both men and women can experience enhanced sexual pleasure with the right edibles, women report the most benefits overall.
Indica dominant edibles with a higher ratio of THC to CBD tend to be the most popular choices for increasing sexual arousal. Taking this type of edible 1 to 2 hours before sex can help lower your inhibitions, relax your body and mind, increase pleasure sensitivity and help you connect with your partner on a much deeper level. This is especially true if you’re both enjoying edibles together.
Though it doesn’t sound particularly sexy, the strain Hulkamania is receiving rave reviews not only for its relaxing and uplifting effects but also its ability to get both men and women in the mood, increase sexual pleasure, and heighten orgasms. What’s not to like?!
What Are the Best Edibles for Pain?
Cannabis can be an incredible tool for pain control. It works by activating the brain’s cannabinoid receptors to reduce pain sensitivity, as well as producing an anti-inflammatory response in the body.
For maximum pain relief with added sedation, opt for an indica based edible that will also work to relax your entire body. If you can’t afford to be impaired by a high, then CBD-heavy strains will also help to relieve pain while keeping your energy levels up.
All edibles can offer some benefit in pain reduction, but the consensus is that indica strains with high doses of THC are the most effective overall. That is because they also work to increase dopamine and serotonin levels, which blocks pain receptors and leave you feeling more content.
One such strain is the famous Do-Si-Dos which consists of 70% indica and 30% Sativa. This hybrid variety alleviates chronic and acute pain, helping with anything from minor headaches to severe arthritis.
What Are the Best Edibles for Pain After Surgery?
While smoking cannabis after surgery is a no-no, edibles can play a great role in helping you deal with post-surgical pain, and in some circumstances, they can even lower your reliance on more damaging and addictive pharmaceutical opioids.
The recommendations for edibles for post-surgery pain relief are the same as those listed for regular pain relief above. Just be sure to check with your doctor before taking any post-op edibles, and always be honest about your marijuana use before surgery, as cannabis can affect the amount of anesthesia needed.
ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR FIRST: Always discuss the potential use of edibles after surgery with your doctor. You may have underlying health issues or concerns that make using edibles ill-advised after your surgery. Similarly, never mix edibles with pharmaceuticals or other supplements. Even mixing with antibiotics post-surgery could spell disaster.
Where to Buy Edibles
Now that you’ve seen all the incredible benefits that cannabis edibles can provide, you’re probably wondering where you can get your hands on some.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, you can order your edibles online or visit your local dispensary in person.
If you’re not lucky enough to live in one of these weed-friendly states, then you might still be able to access edibles online in certain situations through the Delta 8 THC loophole. Delta 8 is an unregulated form of cannabis that managed to slip through the cracks of federal criminalization, at least for now. However, some states have blocked its sale, and since it’s unregulated, there are some concerns about its quality and safety.
If you’d rather stick to the real deal, then why not take a trip to Denver, Colorado, known as “the Cradle of Legalization.” The Mile High City is a great place to try your first edibles, and you don’t even need to go far; there are tons of dispensaries in Denver near the airport, and some of them are among the best in the nation.
Native Roots Tower is the nearest dispensary to the airport; in fact, at just a 5-minute drive from the car rental desk, it’s practically in the backyard! It’s a great pit stop for a tasty buzz before you head into the city or for a quick bite before you board your flight home.
Final Thoughts On Marijuana Edibles
There’s a big wide world of edibles out there to explore, and thankfully, more and more people now have access to it. When used responsibly, cannabis can have a positively life-changing effect, helping to relieve pain, reduce anxiety, stave off insomnia, and, of course, kick back, relax, and have a great time. And thanks to the huge selection of edibles now available, they can also be delicious and nutritious, too.
Tips to taking marijuana edibles:
Go slow, edibles take a LONG time to ‘hit’
Don’t feel the effects after an hour? Give your digestive system a nudge with a fat-rich snack
Remember to plan, edibles often last for up to 8-10 hours
Take too much and feeling overwhelmed? Remember that NO ONE has ever overdosed on cannabis. CBD can also be used to help calm you down and block receptors otherwise occupied by THC.