Edibles: What You Need To Know
Cannabis infused beverages and foods have been dancing on the lips of their consumers since the 15th Century. Ancient texts have led historians to believe the Chinese were sipping on cannabis infused teas as a way to aid in sleep and digestion.
Fast forward a few hundred years later, and chefs are now infusing everything but the kitchen table. There seems to be an edible or beverage to satisfy even the most finicky of individuals. The trouble begins when those individuals partake in the edible experience without a bit of guidance.
Edibles are a more palatable way for consumers to use cannabis. Without complicated smoking utensils or messy flower, edibles are an excellent option for those who wish to keep their cannabis use “cleaner”. However, this does not constitute simple.
There is a multitude of factors that contribute to the type of edible encounters each individual will experience. Factors include but are not limited to hydration, the availability of food in the stomach, individual physiology and the type of edible being consumed. These are important factors to take into consideration. Edible highs can tend to be a bit different, and for the unsuspecting consumer, it could be a dreadful experience. Edibles have so much to offer, it would be a shame if one bad experience were to soil the overall encounter.
It is best to start with a microdose of edibles for those who are new to the experience. Usually, 2.5 milligrams is a safe dosage to begin the journey.
Many consumers enjoy edibles for the body high. Those who struggle with chronic pain report edibles help to lessen the physical discomforts dealt with on a daily basis. Women also say edibles help considerably with menstrual pains. “The issue isn’t that [weed is] metabolized differently, it’s that it’s gonna get metabolized to different degrees in different parts of the body, depending on the route of administration,” Nick Jikomes, the principal research scientist at Leafly, said. This explains why so there are so many reports of people seeing positive results for their physical pain when consuming edibles. This is also a great explanation as to why edibles are a mainstay for those who struggle with insomnia.
When you initially ingest an edible the THC must first travel to your stomach and then to your liver before finally making it to your bloodstream. This is why the effect of edibles is not felt immediately. Rather, you will begin feeling the effects roughly 30 minutes after ingestion, with the peak of the high usually hitting around the 2-3 hour mark. Residuals can last anywhere from 12-24 hours depending on your dose and your body’s ability to break down the THC.
This is the guideline and not the rule. Remember, there are factors that could change these parameters based on the individual.
Firstly and probably most importantly, there is the issue of consuming edibles on an empty stomach. Generally, this is not something recommended especially for the novice consumer.
An empty stomach plus edibles is a recipe for an upset stomach and a high that may not be quite welcome. The effects are going to hit hard and fast. Since the THC must travel through the digestive tract, if there is nothing there, the results will be an intense high, one which may not last as long as if there was something to pad the digestive tract.
Now, on the other hand, you do not want to be too full when taking your edible. If your body has to digest a large amount of food before it gets to your edible, you are going to be waiting for a while longer than anticipated for it to take hold. This poses an issue for those who take edibles on a full stomach before bed. The THC is still at its peak in the morning, leaving the feeling of what many have described as a “hangover”. Thankfully, this usually does not come with prayers to the porcelain god, but the brain fog and grogginess certainly puts a wrench in your day. Keep in mind, your body has to digest what is in your digestive tract before it can make it to the THC, so nosh accordingly.
It goes without saying your body struggles to process things when dehydration is occurring. Cannabis is known to pull water from the body, therefore, if you begin your edible journey already dehydrated, the effects are going to again hit pretty hard. Dehydration will also contribute to that “hangover” feeling the next day.
Some of us know folks who are regular cannabis consumers who say “edibles do not work on me” or “edibles are too strong for me”. These statements have been a thing of confusion for many in the industry for quite some time. Initially, it was believed body weight and tolerance played a role in this arena, however, new research is proving that theory incorrect.
As explained in our Endocannabinoid System article, mammals have receptors throughout their brains and bodies that are responsible for the psychoactive high created when THC is used. The body also creates enzymes that come and break the THC and other cannabinoids down once the body is finished using them.
We know ingested edibles are metabolized by the liver. What we are now finding out is that the enzymes in your liver play a significant role in your response to various cannabinoids. Having lower or higher CYP enzymes will alter the rate of metabolism. Due to this, the THC may not be metabolized whatsoever.
Dr. Mary Clifton, is a recognized expert in CBD and Cannabis and the founder of CBDandCannabisInfo.com and the highly respected professional certification course, “The Cannabinoid Protocol” has some interesting thoughts on the subject. She says the enzymatic levels are breaking down the cannabis too quickly which do not allow the consumer to feel their effects. She also opined that perhaps the CB1 and CB2 (some people have more and some people have less) receptors are not getting enough stimulation in order to react to the THC.
The question has been posed as to whether or not there is a treatment to bypass the issues with the enzymatic process. As of right now, there is no known way to bypass that issue. Hopes are that with further research there may be some better answers in that arena.
For those who have a low tolerance to edibles after continued usage, the enzymatic process is acting too slowly, allowing the THC to linger in your liver for longer periods of time. The edible hangover is real for these folks. The size of the individual bears no weight on the enzymatic process, nor does the individual’s tolerance to THC.
Another thing to consider while diving into the realm of edibles is the type of edible being ingested. Hard candies, lozenges and beverages will all have a more immediate effect than their fatty based counterparts such as chocolates, caramels, baked confections and protein bars.
Edibles such as hard candies, lozenges and beverages are immediately absorbed by the mucus membranes in your mouth which lands them directly into the bloodstream giving you a more immediate effect. Consumers will also reap the benefits of the residuals as the body continues breaking down the THC. Therefore, your initial high is NOT your peak high with these guys, an important point to note while snacking on them. Due to their immediate gratification, they are an excellent option for those who are looking for some quick relief.
Now you have been given all of the advice and have taken the plunge into the world of edibles and you are not feeling well. It is unfortunate, but it does happen. Do not dismay there are options to get your spunky self up and at em again. CBD is known to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. It is suggested to have a CBD tincture on hand. Some CBD under the tongue will begin acting immediately to get you feeling back to normal. In the infamous words of Bobby Boucher, “There’s nothing like a fine quality H2O.” Hydrating yourself will help your body move the THC through your liver. Having a snack is also suggested, however, with the new studies coming out regarding the enzymatic process, it is questionable how much that will actually help. That being said, it would be a great idea to have a fuller stomach for your next go round if you had trouble with your initial edible usage.
The world of edibles is vast and exciting. Not only are they quite delectable, but they also offer medicinal benefits many consumers seek. A little knowledge goes a long way to ensure your journey with edibles is a pleasant one.