There’s really only one thing you need to know about edibles. And, that’s how they metabolize.
Once you understand how your systems process cannabis edibles, you can appreciate the importance of getting the dosage right.
Metabolizing cannabis edibles
The THCA in cannabis needs to go through decarboxylation before it becomes THC, the cannabinoid with psychoactive effects. When you smoke, the burning process triggers the decarboxylation. When you cook cannabis, you make the same thing happen.
Smoked cannabis is processed through the lungs. As it leaches from the lungs into the bloodstream, it reaches the brain and Endocannabinoid System almost immediately.
But, when you digest cannabis edibles, it goes to your stomach, not your lungs. In your stomach, the cannabis processes like anything else in the stomach. The digestive system breaks it down into carbs and sugars as well as the THC.
The intestinal lining absorbs the THC and sends it to the liver for processing THC into 11-Hydroxy-THC, a high potency THC. Researchers believe but have not proven that this metabolite crosses the body-brain barrier quickly.
What you should notice, it that the digestion/liver process takes more time than the lung process. So, your first dosing challenge is to understand that cannabis edibles take longer to deliver their effects.
A guide for beginners:
1. Patience! Patience! When cannabis edibles are tasty, it’s tempting to have more than just one, especially when they are little gummy bears or berries. Why not pop a handful at once?
The fact is that you will suffer from taking too much too soon. You can easily overdose on edibles if you lack the discipline. It could take 30 minutes to two hours for cannabis edibles to kick in, so you must plan on the process.
Your body fat and personal metabolic rate run the show, so until you have some experience, you want to take a piece and wait for it to deliver before you think of a second treat. The payoff is that the effect last longer.
2. Consider your diet. The cannabis edibles are not likely alone in your digestive process. You must consider what else you have eaten. Fatty foods will slow the process and an empty stomach will accelerate it.
A bigger concern is how much alcohol you have in your system. Trying an edible for dessert after a beer or wine loaded dinner will complicate the digestion. The alcohol will increase the THC concentration significantly.
Before you dose, consider how much you’ve eaten and what you’ve had to drink. An empty stomach means your edible may kick in more swiftly, and if this is the case, maybe think about starting with half a dose.
So, empty stomach or alcohol-flooded, you should try a smaller dose or piece. A modest dose for beginners might be 1-2.5mg of THC (plus CBD).
3. Follow the directions. The industry is not quite there yet, but legalization is pressing manufacturers to develop standardized testing and labeling. Good, clear, and informative labeling will help users control their consumption and self-discipline.
Those labels will show a “standard dose” of 10mg. But, if you are a novice or have experienced low tolerance, you should divide that 10mg into mini-doses. There’s always room for another mini-dose once you feel the effects of the first one.
So, you must read those labels which will identify the dose as 5, 10, 20, 40, 80, or 100 milligrams. Those numbers should help you schedule your intake and experience until you know what you are doing. You do not want to gobble up the cannabis candies as if they were M&Ms.
This dosage chart makes slight modifications in text to the one created by Healer.com.
4. Remember the CBD. Good labeling should identify the CBD content and its ratio with the THC. Edibles can be a great and convenient source of the medical benefits of CBD. For many medical patients, the edibles are much preferred to smoking.
It offsets the high potency and negative effects of THC to successfully treat anxiety, pain, and scores of other medical conditions. So, a CBD: THC ratio of 1: 1 suggests an ideal balance, but you still must avoid overdosing.
If the CBD: THC ratio favors the THC, you invite unwanted intoxicating effects and you reduce the desired medical effects. But, if it maintains a 4: 1 CBD dominance, you should realize the experience you want.
5. Newcomer tips:
• Lozenges, gummies, mints, oils, and troches all dissolve in your mouth. They begin the process by absorption in the mouth lining and tongue.
• Adding a fresh piece of apple or orange after consuming an edible can expedite its effects.
• When eating cannabis edibles, you should let them break down in your mouth a bit before swallowing.
• Caregivers for seriously ill patients must watch the administration and effects of the treatments.
• It’s necessary to remain hydrated while consuming and after consuming cannabis edibles.
Cannabis edibles and you
The problem for beginners (and thereafter) is that cannabis edibles are so darned good. Still, you must discipline your intake and watch the results. Finally, beginners should not consume edibles without someone watching. Until you know what you are doing and are experiencing the benefits you want, you should not use alone.