Marijuana edibles are cannabis-infused food products that offer delayed, yet extended effects.
Offering a tasty alternative to smoking or vaporizing cannabis, marijuana edibles are food and beverage products that have been infused with cannabis. Consumers who enjoy marijuana edibles typically prefer the extended and more intense effects that they offer compared to other types of marijuana products.
Many different types of marijuana edibles are available to purchase in legal marijuana states throughout the United States, where more than half of the states have legalized recreational or medical marijuana. It’s also common now for cannabis connoisseurs to make their own marijuana-infused cuisine at home.
While marijuana edibles are popular among regular, long-term marijuana users, they’re also a favored choice among beginners who are being introduced to cannabis for the very first time and are looking for an easy way to take their marijuana.
What are Marijuana Edibles?
Marijuana edibles are foods and beverages that contain marijuana and its active compounds. Using a number of techniques, marijuana flower can be infused into almost any type of food or drink.
In general, marijuana edibles are produced to contain relatively high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that causes intoxication.
With marijuana legalization expanding and the demand for marijuana products increasing over recent years, the market for marijuana edibles has surged. There are many types of different marijuana-infused foods and beverages now available to buy in dispensaries, and people continue to find new ways to infuse marijuana into their favorite recipes.
Here’s a list of just some of the different types of marijuana edible products:
- Brownies and other baked goods
- Chewy edibles and hard candies
- Nuts and trail mixes
- Ice cream
- Dessert balls
- Sauces, dressings, and condiments
- Coffees and teas
- Energy drinks
How are Marijuana Edibles Made?
In general, marijuana edibles are made using one of two processes.
Marijuana food edibles like cookies or brownies are made with canna-butter or canna-oil. Canna-butter is unsalted butter that’s been blended with ground cannabis flower and water. The marijuana-infused butter can then be added in place of regular butter in any baking recipe.
Canna-oil, which blends ground cannabis flower with any type of cooking oil, can also be used for baking dessert foods, but is generally used for blending into homemade sauces or salad dressing, sautéing veggies, or low temperature frying on the stove.
To make marijuana-infused beverages, you can add drops of cannabis extract in liquid form, or a tincture, are added to drinks. Marijuana tinctures, which allow those making edibles on their own at home to have greater control over the THC level in their edibles, can also be added to food products.
How do the Effects of Marijuana Edibles Differ From Those of Other Cannabis Products?
Compared to other marijuana consumption methods, the effects after ingesting cannabis edibles are delayed. While the effects of smoking or vaping marijuana are often felt within seconds or minutes of inhaling, the effects of edibles are usually not noticeable until 30 to 90 minutes after they are consumed.
If you smoke or vape marijuana, cannabinoids like THC and CBD are quickly absorbed by the alveoli in your lungs and reach your bloodstream almost immediately. Marijuana edibles, however, have to be digested before the cannabinoids can reach the bloodstream.
Once the effects of marijuana edibles do set in, they are usually much stronger and longer lasting than other consumption methods. The following are a few factors that can determine how long the effects may last:
- Your metabolism
- Your body weight
- Your edible’s concentration of THC
- How much of the cannabis edible you consume
How are Marijuana Edibles Different From CBD Edibles?
Marijuana edibles differ from cannabidiol (CBD) edibles in that they contain a high concentration of THC and are used for their euphoric effects. CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. This means that CBD edibles, generally infused with CBD hemp oil, are completely non-intoxicating and are subsequently popular among those interested in the natural balancing properties of cannabinoids without the intoxicating effects.
CBD hemp oil can be mixed into almost any prepared foods, and is often incorporated as part of a healthy eating and wellness lifestyle.
Safety Tips and Advice for Taking Edibles
Marijuana edibles do offer some initial challenges for beginners who are not yet familiar with how their body will respond to the delayed and amplified effects of cannabis. Because of the delayed effects, it’s not uncommon for beginners to take a second serving and then discover that they’ve overdone it.
Here are some tips on how to have a positive experience with marijuana edibles:
Find a comfortable location
It’s always a good idea to consume your marijuana edible in a comfortable setting. Taking edibles at home or among a tight group of people you’re close to is best. If it’s your first time, consider having your partner or a friend there to help you keep track of how much you’ve consumed and to assist if you experience any discomfort.
Read the package’s serving guidelines
Marijuana edible products you purchase should have their THC concentration in milligrams (mg) clearly labeled. Keep in mind that edible products like marijuana-infused chocolate bars are designed for multiple servings. For example, if an edible packaging says it contains 100 mg of THC and it is divided into 10 single-serving pieces, each piece contains 10 mg of THC. Always know how many milligrams of THC you are taking.
Start with a low serving and go slow
While 10 mg THC is thought of as a typical serving, those new to marijuana edibles should begin by consuming a low amount of THC, between 2 and 5 mg. Wait at least two hours to gauge the effects before you consume another serving. This will help you find the perfect serving for you.
If you end up overindulging and feel uncomfortable, keep in mind that the sensation is only temporary. Here are some tips on how to manage if you have consumed too much THC:
- Lie or sit down and close your eyes
- Try to breathe normally and stay calm
- Tell a nearby loved one that you’ve overdone it and ask them to keep an eye on you
- Consume CBD, which can counteract the psychoactive properties of THC
FAQs About Marijuana Edibles
Whether you’re a marijuana newcomer or a seasoned THC enthusiast, if it’s your first time exploring edibles, you likely have some questions. Below, we have answers. Get your most pressing inquiries answered to have the best edibles experience possible.
How Do I Figure Out What Serving is Right for Me?
There is no “correct” serving when it comes to marijuana edibles. Everyone’s body responds differently to THC, and everyone has different tolerance levels. The best thing to do is establish a conservative baseline that you’re comfortable with and adjust from there.
To do so, you will need a precisely formulated THC source, such as a tincture, to deliver an exact amount of THC to your edibles. The best edibles are those that have a precise amount of THC evenly spread across each serving. This helps consumers know exactly what they’re getting.
Ultimately, the best rule to follow is to start small and work your way up. Make your first recipe with a low-concentration THC product and add more next time.
How Long Does It Take to Kick in?
The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, but for most people, the effects of THC edibles kick in anywhere 30 to 90 minutes. One of the factors that influence how long marijuana edibles take to kick in is THC concentration. Higher concentrated products will take effect faster. Another factor is where and how the body absorbs the edible.
THC lozenges, lollipops, and gum are absorbed sublingually, a process that shows effects faster than absorption through digestion, which is the process for THC cookies, brownies, and chewy edibles.
Other factors that may influence onset time include an individual’s weight, height, gender, diet, and genetic tolerance to THC edibles. Whether or not you’ve eaten recently will also influence how quickly marijuana edible effects kick in.
What Should I Do if I Ate Too Much or Feel THC’s Effects Too Strongly?
As mentioned above, there are a number of steps you can take if you feel like you have consumed too much THC. First and foremost, don’t panic. The effects will eventually wear off. Try sitting or lying down, focusing on breathing normally and relaxing, asking a close friend or family member to supervise you. You may also consider consuming CBD, which may counteract THC’s psychoactive effects.
What Should I Look For on a Cannabis Edible Label?
The best edibles are responsibly sourced, meticulously extracted, and carefully formulated to contain precise amounts of THC and other important ingredients. Do your research before narrowing your THC edible selection down to only the top few manufacturers. From there, look on the label for how much THC (and other cannabinoids) the package contains, and how much THC (and other cannabinoids) you’ll be getting per serving. This will help you consume the amount that’s right for you.
How Long Do the Effects of a Cannabis Edible Last?
The psychoactive effects of cannabis edibles can last anywhere from two hours to nearly 12 hours depending on the amount of THC ingested and the type of edible ingested. Edibles that take longer to digest will typically release THC over a longer period of time, leading to extended psychoactive effects.
The best edibles for you are the ones with effects that last as long as you want them to. Start with a smaller serving size in a single kind of edible (such as a lozenge or baked good), and gradually increase the THC amount with each ingestion. That way, you can home in on the perfect length of time for your THC experience.
Learn More About Marijuana
As marijuana becomes more widely accepted and legal throughout the United States, people are experimenting with new marijuana recipes. Many are even growing their own weed at home and harvesting the plants’ flowers to infuse into foods and drinks.