Article by JULIA VEINTROP, Published on the CannabisLifeNetwork, MAY 21, 2020
Trying edibles for the first time can be intimidating but it doesn’t have to be. Everyone is different… thus, there are no blanket rules, only guidelines. In my professional career, I have had the privilege of working for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, a 24-year-old, medical cannabis compassion club.
Every day, the staff at the VCBC provides cannabis edibles to those suffering from incurable conditions, teaching them how to use them and what they may expect; they won the right to do so in the Supreme Court of Canada. Their experience and advice have been passed on to thousands of people, helping provide relief and encouraging the proper use of cannabis. For those of you who are about to try a cannabis edible, here is what I learned about using them and what you need to know.
What to know about edibles before you begin…
Your rights – R. v. Smith
Owen Smith used to work at the bakery for the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club. In 2009, he was arrested for it. At the time, the marijuana medical access Regulations would only recognize dried cannabis as a lawful medicine. Extracted cannabis and the products made from it we’re still considered illegal, limiting access for those most in need. For example, a patient with lung cancer could smoke a joint but eating a pot cookie was against the law.
Seeing the obvious injustice, the VCBC decided to fight the charges. In 2015, the Supreme court agreed, stating that “the prohibition on non-dried forms of medical marihuana unjustifiably infringes on The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”
So, what does all of this mean to you? If you are using cannabis edibles for a medical reason, you have the right to do so. If you need a high dose edible to deal with your pain, you have the right to have it as medicine.
Pain relief and opiate interaction
CB1 and 2 receptors play a huge role in how we regulate pain and there is an enormous amount of them within our GI tract. Opiates will trigger them, sometimes to the point of overstimulation, resulting in withdrawal.
However, THC works on them differently. It relaxes an overactive receptor by binding to it and blocking its effect, basically, chilling it out. The result is an effect that spreads throughout the body, physically and emotionally. For those who deal with chronic pain, eating THC puts pain-relieving medicine directly where it is needed most. For some, the effect can be life-changing.
Note – If you take medication for pain, be aware that using cannabis edibles may increase its effect; this is especially common with opiate medication.
Don’t be fooled by the Mgs
When it comes to edibles, there is a reason that they say to start low and go slow. It’s all because of bioavailability, meaning the amount of a substance absorbed in the body. When THC enters the bloodstream by way of the digestive system, the amount used is significantly higher than through lung tissue. When choosing an edible, start off with a lower amount of THC because you never know how much your body will need.
What to know to make your choice…
What kind of infusion is in the edible?
Cannabinoids can be extracted in so many different ways, resulting in unique blends cannabinoids and terpenes. The type of cannabis infusion used in an edible will make an impact on the end result. Ask what’s in it:
Made with butter – Dried bud is cooked in melted butter, extracting a broad spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Medicinally, edibles made with butter are often the most therapeutically effective when treating any variety of conditions. When you don’t know what will work for an illness, using a broad spectrum covers more bases; Think of trying to hit a moving target using a large sprinkler, versus a single stream. To some degree, you will be able to taste the cannabis within the food you are eating.
Made with a Concentrate – Through various methods, cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the cannabis flower. These concentrated compounds are melted with oil or butter, to be made into food.
Edibles made with concentrates aim to produce a specific effect based on the cannabis used. A distillate made from a sativa strain of cannabis will have a totally different effect than one made with an indica shatter.
Any baked goods or food made with concentrate will likely be tasteless. This can be a benefit for anyone who doesn’t like the taste of pot. But, it’s easy to forget that concentrate cookie has more than chocolate chips.
Candies versus cookies
These days, cannabis is going into everything. You can get beef jerky, hard candies, gummies, cookies, brownies, and everything in between. But, not all edibles work the same way and what you choose can affect your experience. When choosing what to buy, think of the food as a cannabis carrier. Candy takes a lot less time to digest than an oatmeal raisin cookie and you need to keep this in mind. A long digestive process means that THC will absorb slowly, creating a longer-lasting effect.
The rule – An edible that hits quickly, wears off quickly.
Tips for success…
- Try it at night
- For your first time, the best time to eat cannabis edibles is at night. Aim to ingest roughly two hours before bed. That way, you can experience the effect and go to bed when you’re tired of it.
Pay attention to how much is in your stomach before trying edibles
The quantity of food already in your stomach will play a role when using edibles; specifically, how quickly you’ll feel the onset of effects. If you eat a pot cookie on an empty stomach, expect it to kick in faster than it may otherwise. Put that same cookie on top of a pant-splitting turkey dinner, and it might not kick in for hours.
Have plain munchies on hand
Cannabis can stimulate your appetite and turn your tummy into a bottomless pit. For some, that can be appealing. One would think that eating pot would cause a serious case of the munchies but boy can it ever. Do not underestimate the importance of having tasty treats because edible munchies can hit like a truck. If that happens and the fridge is bare except for more edibles, you are in real trouble. The temptation is real and many a stoner has succumbed to it. Sidestep this scenario and stock up on snacks!
Most Important Tip before trying edibles –
- Have CBD close by
- If the effect of an edible starts to feel uncomfortable, take CBD to come down and relax. CBD counteracts the effects of THC by promoting different neuroactivity. Think of CBD as a brake if you feel like you want to slow down the ride.