With the legalization of cannabis, edibles are becoming quite popular in Canada. In fact, they are expected to make up half of the cannabis industry. This means that as more months go by, you’ll be more likely to find edibles in your cupboard, your friend’s home or even your parent’s drawers.
The increased consumption of edibles might be fun to those looking at reducing their smoking habits or those that are curious about edibles, but it can turn into an unpleasant experience when you overeat edibles.
Dr. Jenna Vallerani, the CEO of the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education explains that while you can always have an extra serving of edibles, you will not be able to reverse what you’ve already consumed.
Dr. Jenna confirms that it’s unlikely that you’ll die of a cannabis overdose but you likely won’t be as lucky as to escape many of the unpleasant effects such as paranoia and anxiousness, increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness.
The good news is that these effects wear out after three to six hours, and in extreme cases, eight hours. To avoid this from happening, Vallerani recommends the old school model of low and slow, along with the following helpful tips.
Ignore serving size: Start with 2.5 mg THC
According to Health Canada, 10 mg is the ideal maximum THC content for a single serving. Vallerani says that most cannabis consumers confuse this with the recommended THC content for a single serving.
Vallerani says that states like Colorado which have set the recommendation for a single serving at 10 mg have come out to say that the dose is too high for a single dose. According to a recent study conducted in Colorado, more adults are ending up in the emergency department than expected due to the high dose. She said that a dose of between 2.5 mg and 5 mg of THC is the ideal single dose. For cannabis newbies, people above the age of 60 or anyone with a low tolerance to THC, she said the lower the dose the better.
5 mg translates to half a cookie or brownie, as a full cookie amounts to two servings. Importantly, she advises new users to try low doses before they level up, considering that they might feel nothing when they ingest edibles for the first time.
Other than this, there are a number of external factors that can actually raise your sensitivity to THC. These include; hunger, being tired, anxiety, if you’re dealing with other medical conditions or if you experience PMS.
Other factors that can raise your THC sensitivity include gender, weight or past experiences with cannabis. Fatty foods can also alter your experience as they tend to speed the absorption of THC into the bloodstream.
Wait it out – up to 2 hours
It takes time for edibles to be absorbed into the bloodstream, which explains why it’s natural to feel nothing just after ingesting a cookie. This might lead you to eat another edible within ten minutes of the first one as you seek an immediate impact. The rule of the thumb is to wait for between 30 minutes and two hours before you can feel the impact of cannabis kicking in. It’s also important to note that the kind of edible that you choose determines how fast THC is absorbed into your bloodstream. Vallerani says that some edibles like hard candies that are absorbed sublingually tend to get into the bloodstream faster than edibles that are absorbed through the stomach.
And what will you feel?
Vallerani says that the feeling will vary from person to person but described the general feeling like a relaxing body high that is more powerful than that we get from smoking cannabis.
Feeling too intense? This means you have consumed too much. Vallerani advises people who feel this way to drink lots of water, grab something to eat, relax or take a nap. She adds that she has heard through anecdotes of people who used CBD as an antidote.
Not feeling anything? It’s recommended that you wait for a day before trying the same low dose once or twice before you start to increase the dose.
Once you’re ready, you can increase the dose by 5 mg until you find the dose that works for you. For some people, Vallerani says, a dose of between 25 mg and 50 mg is required to make them feel anything. She recommends the gradual increment of the dose for the best experience.
Homemade can be high dose
There’s no denying that homemade edibles can be potent. Before you munch that cookie from a friend’s party, enquire about its content and dose in order to be on the safe side. Once you get the information on the dose, divide it with the number of servings. Keep in mind that any strain with 10% THC has 100 mg of THC per gram. With this, 7 g of cannabis used to make 12 cookies translates to over 58 mg of THC per cookie serving. By any standards, the THC content is too high for most people. Vallerani says that it’s also important to consider the uneven distribution of cannabis in cookies. Naturally, cannabis is not evenly distributed in cookies and you’ll find that some cookies have high THC content than others. The rule of the thumb is to start slow before gradually increasing the dosage. This, she says, is the best way to enjoy edibles.
Be mindful about mixing with booze
Mixing cannabis edibles with booze sessions happens all the time, only that you need to take extra care when you’re doing it.
Vallerani says that cannabis amplifies the effects of alcohol, so you might end up more drunk. What matters is that you need to be mindful of how you feel — or preferably avoid mixing booze with cannabis altogether. While most people think that its only THC that has psychoactive effects, some CBD products may also have psychoactive effects. Even though you decide to mix CBD with alcohol, you might end up getting the psychoactive effects. If you don’t, it’s still not a good idea to mix substances into your system.
Again, she recommended a slow uptake of edibles to enjoy their effects.