How can anything that tastes that good be a problem? Cannabis edibles have a problem. They just go down differently.
Smoking puts THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids in your blood system right away. Leaching through the lungs, they are on the way through the body and to the brain with the first puff. It’s reason enough to take a break after a few puffs.
Cannabis edibles, on the other hand, must be digested and then metabolized through the liver. No harm, no foul. But, it takes a while before you feel the effects. So, how long does the cannabis edible high last?
It’s all relative
So much depends on your individual psych-physical profile. As with any food or beverage, cannabis edibles will metabolize according to your body type and weight. Shorter, thinner users are likely to feel effects sooner. Taller, heavier users will take a little longer to notice effects.
In general, it takes at least 30 minutes to kick in. For some people, it may take two hours. But, the effects will linger longer than smoking. That’s because the liver converts THC to 11-hydroxy-THC. When it hits the brain, it is likely to produce a more elevated high that takes longer to diminish.
You could graph the effects with the smoking impact hitting within 10 to 60 minutes and trailing off within 30 to 60 minutes. You light up to start the cycle again. But, with cannabis edibles that curve is more graceful, slowly taking effect, lasting for a good time, and trailing off slowly.
That’s the risk
Without standardized universal labeling, you don’t have all the needs-to-know. For example, the strain used to smoke processes differently as it is prepared for eating. Whether or not the preparation is at home or the grower, that THC impact will differ.
As Huffington Post points out. “THC can cause increases in heart rate, heavy breathing, dry mouth, red eyes, slower reaction times and, in cases of excessive use, severe paranoia and anxiety.” Consuming too much THC may not kill you, but it will make you very uncomfortable.
Without info on content, shoppers may not determine the sensible dosage. Experienced users suggest that new users should start by working slowly towards a 5mg dose. Those same veterans say to take your time building one milligram at a time up to 10mgs. No one recommends consuming more than 10mgs at a time.
The only exception to the 10mgs rule belongs to medical marijuana patients who need the added strength for their specific health problems.
There’s also the added risk that the slow onset and the edibility may mislead users as to their ability to drive or operate machinery. Smoked or eaten, any dose can be high risk for certain people.
But, there’s more to think about
The “cannabis edibles” category covers a lot of inventory. And, each of those edible forms digest and metabolize differently.
When you hear “edibles,” most think brownies or chocolates. But, it can be more complicated than that. For instance, if you make your own edibles, you have more control over how much you weed you include in your recipes. If the recipe calls for cannabis, you can weigh it and adjust recipes for taste and impact.
You can also include canna-based butter and canna-infused oils to replace the usual dairy butter, corn oils, or fats and lards. If you do, you are also adding potency to some degree, a fact you should work into your dosing. For example, if you infuse your biscuits or muffins with cannabis, you should not slather it with additional cannabutter. And, if you give your edibles away as gifts, you must provide your “customer” with information on the contents.
If you purchase your edibles, you should read the label available for ingredients, density, and dosage. Where the edible identifies the strain involved, you must adjust your expectations, dosage, and intake frequency.
“Edibles” also include teas, beverages, chewables, lollipops, and more. SFGate recently reported on the gathering of dozens of women “most wearing cocktail dresses and vintage hats.” Nibbling on finger sandwiches, the sipped a line of cannabis-based teas.
Your system processes each form differently, and experience will teach you sooner than product descriptions will. So, you are free to pursue some trial and error in developing your cannabis edibles habit.
Precisely because the cannabis edibles create a slow and lasting high, you have new concerns. Drinking alcohol while consuming edibles will increase your experience negatively, producing nausea and dizziness.
You should not try edibles on an empty stomach, or it may cause nausea before improving your experience. Likewise, you may want to keep cannabis-free snacks and CBD capsules on hand to offset the THC hit.
And, considering the risks of consuming cannabis edibles without the necessary info, you never want to slip someone an edible as a joke. For instance, the Los Angeles Times reported on 19 people hospitalized after consuming cannabis-laced gummy bears at a quinceañera celebration. Guests between 6 and 18 were “hospitalized after they suffered rapid heart rate, dilated pupils, high blood pressure, dizziness, lethargy, confusion and nausea.”
A closing confidence
Cannabis edibles, commercially or personally prepared, taste great. They come in many forms that just about anyone can consume—even though you seriously must keep them out of the reach of children.
They are not just another version of pot. They enter your system differently and process uniquely, so that the THC has higher potency than when smoked. The fact that edibles ae slower to hit you can mislead you. And, the longer lasting high may tempt you to make moves you should avoid under the influence.