In a world where marijuana use is growing and becoming less stigmatized as well as legal in more places, the possibilities of how to reap the benefits are seemingly endless. Inhaling, eating, dabbing, vaping, and juicing are just some of the ways to partake. The most common forms of use are smoking and edibles. Both give you the full effects of the cannabis experience but in different ways. If you haven’t tried edibles you may wonder what to expect, and if you have already dabbled you may wonder why they produce a high that is so much more intense and longer lasting than the high you get from smoking flower.
The Edibles Buzz
So, why is the hit from edibles so much stronger than that of smoked or vaporized cannabis? It’s because when you consume edibles, the THC is metabolized by the liver and is converted into 11-hydroxy-THC. This version of THC is especially good at crossing the blood-brain barrier and induces a more intense high. This contrasts when cannabis is smoked or vaped, where the THC travels directly to the brain, explaining why the high from smoking hits you quicker than edibles and fades away faster.
The effects of inhaled cannabis peak within 10 minutes and fade at a steady pace over the course of the next hour. Although edibles feel stronger and last longer, the actual levels of THC absorbed into the bloodstream is lower than those through smoking. The THC level passing into the bloodstream from smoking cannabis hits between 50-60 per cent while the percentage of THC absorbed via edibles is as little as 10-20 per cent.
This leads us on to another important subject — dosage. You may have quite a high tolerance and feel that you can smoke a lot of weed and still be able to function. Just because this is the case with smoking does not mean that you can go as big with edibles.
Edibles are metabolized by your body, leading to a longer, intense high. Because of this, it is strongly advised that you start small with your doses.
To give you an idea, a 10-milligram dose of THC is considered standard and will deliver manageable levels of THC. At the other end of the scale, a 100-mg edible is considered substantially more potent and should be split into several doses, not eaten in one sitting, unless you want to spend the next few hours of your life in a rather unpleasant ultra-stoned limbo.
Generally, in terms of the high with edibles, you will get a stronger hit to the body while the head experience will be considerably more psychedelic which may sound cool, but in reality can be a bit too much even for the most experienced smoker. I, like many I'm sure, have made the textbook error of eating too much edible, in my cocky, know-it-all younger days, and I was literally melted into the sofa in a world of mental and physical turmoil for what felt like days! Oh, the naivety of youth! It taught me a lesson, though, as I never made the same mistake again. Heed my words and respect the herb in edibles.
Staying with dosage, be mindful of what you are buying and who from; don't always take what's on a label or what someone says as gospel. This applies if you are not buying from a reputable dispensary or distributor. When you are smoking, this does not pose too much of a problem as the effects are pretty much instant, that allows for you to assess and address any dosage issues immediately, making your next joint a little stronger or a little weaker. With edibles, even professionals who are making them for mass sale and longtime smokers can have difficulty perfecting the right dose and getting their THC levels to a uniform. Again, I would proceed with caution here and use/eat less than you first think you should and then increase very gradually.
Even if you do buy from a more regulated service, there is still the risk of variation in the product you buy. The supplier of your edibles may have what looks like the same edible you bought last time but there is no guarantee it is not purposefully or accidentally stronger. There are movements towards more clear regulations for edibles and their contents, but it is not commonplace right now.
Obviously, with smoking cannabis you can still end up with a strain you never asked for but it is much easier and quicker to realize this and put a halt to the effects.
If you have only smoked weed before, you will notice with edibles that the tell-tale energetic and sedative differences of typical sativa and typical indica strains are not present or identifiable. This is because many edibles are made from a mix of sources. There are a few commercial manufacturers selling products made exclusively from a single cannabis strain but this is not the case with the majority, and most people and companies make their edible products from the mixed leftover trimmings of what cannot be sold or used for other purposes — it is a business after all.
Read also: A Quick Guide to Cannabis Infusions
Eating Edibles Less Harmful Than Smoking
A lot of people choose edibles over inhalation because they don’t enjoy smoking, are worried about the health concerns, or have medical conditions preventing them from smoking. If nicotine is a problem for you, then vaping is also a viable health conscious alternative. If you are using cannabis for self-medicating reasons, however, then edibles are more effective than smoking or vaping in terms of giving you long-lasting pain relief for chronic conditions and muscle contractions caused by many movement disorders.
Smoking is probably the most common image people get about cannabis use, but in reality, edibles have been a popular option for just as long. As cannabis use becomes more widely accepted, researched, regulated, and legalized, edibles are becoming as popular as smoking. In the US, edible sales were about even with inhalable cannabis products from the moment Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational use. The choice of products is extensive, with a cannabis-infused recipe for everything you can think of, from savory main meals to soups, drinks, lozenges, lollipops and the classic sweet-baked treats. It is one of the fastest growing markets within the cannabis industry, encompassing lifestyle movements such as blogs, websites, recipe books, and pop-up restaurants. Many people, however, still will not have tried them. Hopefully, after reading the little bit of advice offered here, you will now feel a bit more informed and understand why you should.
Be cautious when first approaching edibles. Approach them with the right frame of mind and you can have a great time with edibles and avoid any disasters.