Cannabis Edibles: Everything You Need to Know

Stephen Andrews
08 Sep 2021

When you smoke marijuana, it takes a few minutes until the THC hits in and gives the cerebral high users are so looking forward to it. With cannabis edibles, the take is different. You munch it. First, there's nothing. And then it hits. Just when you forgot you ate your load.

Brownies and space cookies are of yesteryear. Today, there's every type of food and liquid that one can imagine, containing either THC or CBD. Cannabis edibles include pizza, ice cream, popcorns, gums and gummy bears, suckers, chocolates, truffles, caramels, soda, tea, milk, coffee, tinctures. Even powder and capsules you can add in your orange juice when nobody's looking.

Given the nature of edibles, they can be consumed by a broad group of people. From young people to seniors for whom the prospect of smoking a joint looks despicable, edibles are perhaps the deal of the decade. With so many edibles fans around the world, it's no wonder why the edibles market is blossoming. 

Since cannabis entered the food and beverage market, thousands of products have appeared, attracting tons of new customers who had never before heard of the benefits of cannabis. Businesses have recognized the potential of getting high or medicating by just taking a sip or chewing a piece of gum. The edibles sector is going to be worth $20bn by 2024. Suppose you are still not into the fad, better hurry up. 

How do cannabis edibles work?

Edibles kick in the high your average joint won't easily give. The smoke-free way of using marijuana means that THC or CBD needs to go through the body's gastrointestinal tract and get processed in the liver. It significantly differs from how cannabinoids enter the body when marijuana is inhaled.

Each edible is designed to swallow. If the edible contains THC, the byproduct of the metabolic processing is another compound known as THC-COOH. More potent than THC, THC-COOH explains why users who munch brownies, truffles, and other THC-stirring goodies and cookies have extended periods of feeling high. 

How are cannabis edibles prepared?

THC, the primary psychoactive chemical present in marijuana, binds easily with fat, so cannabis edibles typically use butter and oil to prepare. 

Decarboxylation is the process through which all notable cannabis compounds like THC or CBD are activated with heat to bind with fatty compounds. It's a necessary step to prepare both foods and drinks containing any cannabis.

Preparing gummy bears will entail additional processes such as emulsification, required to combine the cannabis concentrate with other ingredients as the candy mixture is cooked.

Cannabis tinctures, which as an edible substance are administered sublingually (or below the tongue), use alcohol as a solvent. 

Do it yourself edibles.

Of course, you can. Cannabis enthusiasts had prepared snacks containing cannabis long before there was a global industry for it. 

If you know how to decarboxylate weed, you can basically prepare any snack or main dish with it. (Like lasagna for that lunch with ma and pa).

Check out our guide on preparing your own cannabis-infused oil, which is needed for most recipes. 

Browse our page for more recipes:

While it takes some time to master preparing any of these ingestible pot delicacies, almost all of them can also be found at your local dispensary or coffee shop. Thus, if you are not in the mood for cooking, you can always go for the ready-made.

Shopping cannabis edibles?

You may be a master chef. Or your talents may rest outside the kitchen. If you decide to go shopping for edibles at your local store, there are some particularities that can help you decide if this is a good product or it's better to skip this time. 

Here are the things you should pay attention to when reviewing a specific cannabis product:

  • Packaging. Cannabis edibles should be packed like other goods sold in regular grocery shops. The packaging should display information on the ingredients used to prepare the product. 
  • The product should be clearly labeled it contains cannabis. The information the product has cannabis should not be obscured in any way.
  • The package should display the dosage of THC and/or CBD concentrated in the product. It should also say how the cannabinoid was infused. With oil and butter or it used solvent-based extractions.
  • Extra information such as the way the product is supposed to be used, nutrition and allergy information, and contact to the provider. 

The more information you can see on the product package, the more trustworthy the product appears to be. And you can feel at more ease to buy. Shopping on the internet, it's worth looking at product reviews and what other users commented on the product if this information is available. 

Keep away from children? 

That's probably a good idea. Cannabis edibles often come in the form of sweets that have been laced with THC, the psychoactive compound marijuana has and which causes intoxication. A lot of edibles are professionally packaged like popular brands of sweets which can make them appear attractive to children. Yet, they may contain an exceptional dose of THC to which people can react badly in a brief period. 

What happens when children ingest edibles? Just recently, BBC reported a case of three Bradford children falling sick after devouring cannabis edibles. The incident included an eight-year-old boy, another boy, 15, and a girl, 17, all of whom required hospitalization. All three children recovered, although, as the report goes, "there were initially genuine concerns for the youngest child that we could have been looking at a tragic outcome." 

For similar reasons alcohol is not served to minors and children, cannabis edibles are also off the menu. Until the kids grow up and can decide for themselves whether they want a cookie this Friday or a party with cannacocktails next Saturday.

How to distinguish between milder and more potent edibles?

Some users enjoy a strong edible, eagerly waiting for the THC to kick in and they are ready to conquer the world. Others do not have the same tolerance and might feel sick from ingesting too much THC, even if this is not their first time with marijuana. Distinguishing is easy. All you have to do is look up the THC content. This would be more difficult with homemade products, but the information should be readable on the package if you buy.

  • Cannabis edibles with less than 15mg THC. These products typically generate milder effects. Any relief, euphoria, or mind-altering effects are to pass quickly. These products are perfect for new users or those who do not tolerate THC in higher amounts. Still, for some, even 10 or 15 mg might be a bit too much.
  • Cannabis edibles with 15-30mg THC. Moderate products that induce a cerebral high and mind-altering effect that lasts a bit longer. These products are suitable for experienced cannabis users. 
  • Cannabis edibles with above 30mg THC. A boosted sensation of euphoria, mind-altering, and change in perception. The effects may be overwhelming, so the most potent edibles are not recommended for those with lower tolerance levels.

Things go wrong. What to do? 

Well, it hopefully doesn't come to that. But in case it does, if you begin "greening out" after devouring your munchable stash, take some water and get down for some rest. You need peace to calm down the mind or racing heart and to remember that the lousy sensation will pass. 

When ingesting cannabis edibles, it is not advised to mix with alcohol. The combo of the two is one of the most common reasons that lead users to feel unwell.

CBD edibles and how they are different?

Cannabis edibles that are dominant in CBD are basically medicine in the form of food or drink. CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and has multiple health benefits. People use it to treat various mental conditions, insomnia, depression, chronic pain, skin issues, and more. However, CBD does not have the best taste, so to speak. Infusing it into luscious stuff like cookies and gummies makes it convenient for medicinal users to take it and improve their condition.

Stephen Andrews