What Are Edibles?
In This Article
Edibles are food products that contain cannabis. Cannabis edibles come in many different forms, including candy, cookies, brownies, and savory meals. Their effects vary depending on the type of cannabis they contain and the amount you consume.
Marijuana edibles are an alternative option for people who want to avoid vaporizing or smoking marijuana.
Types of Edibles
There are several types of marijuana edibles.
For example, you can make edibles at home or purchase professionally made edibles. There are big differences between professionally made, legal, and homemade edibles.
Legal edibles are made in professional kitchens with specific recipes and measurements. They're also subject to state and local laws, which means they're often more expensive than homemade edibles.
Homemade edibles can be made with a variety of ingredients. They're also not subject to the same laws, which means they are usually much cheaper. The downside of homemade edibles is that they're often less consistent in quality and potency.
Within these two categories, there are several different edible options, including:
- Rice Krispy treats
- Bars (blondies, granola, etc.)
Chocolate and Candies
- Chocolate bars
- Chocolate truffles
- Hard candies
- Chocolate-covered espresso beans, raisins, etc.
- Fruit chews
- Fruit leather
- Gummy bears and gummy worms
- Sour gummies
These include cannabis-infused:
- Soft drinks
- Alcoholic beverages
Ingesting vs Smoking THC
Smoking and eating THC may seem like the same thing, but there are key differences between the two. For example:
The effects of smoking marijuana or THC happen much faster than if you eat it. This is because when you smoke THC, it enters your bloodstream through your lungs and goes straight to your brain. It takes much longer for the effects to develop when you eat THC due to the digestive process.
The intensity of the effects also differs between eating and smoking cannabis or THC. Smoking THC tends to produce stronger and more immediate effects than eating it does.
The duration of the effects also differs. Smoking THC typically leads to shorter-lived effects than eating it does.
If you're looking for a longer-lasting high, eating THC may be a better option.
How Long Do Edibles Take to Kick In?
Edibles take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect, and their effects can last several hours. Eating a heavy meal before consuming edibles usually delays the onset of effects.
It’s also important to consider delayed onset. This is the time it takes for marijuana to take effect after consumption.
Eating and smoking marijuana have different delayed onsets because it takes longer to absorb THC into the bloodstream through the digestive system. The effects of marijuana can also vary depending on a person’s tolerance and how much they consume.
Delayed onset can be a problem when people consume edibles because they may not feel the effects right away. They could end up consuming more than they intended. This can lead to adverse effects such as anxiety and paranoia.
Be aware of delayed onset when using marijuana, especially if you consume it in edible form.
Smoking marijuana typically results in a quicker onset of the drug's effects. This is because THC is absorbed more quickly through the lungs into the bloodstream. You’ll feel the effects of smoking marijuana within minutes. The high peaks within 30 minutes to an hour.
How Long Do Edibles Last?
The effects of marijuana edibles can last anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, depending on the person. The edible potency and their tolerance to THC will also impact how long the effects last.
Generally, people report feeling the effects of an edible for longer than they would if they smoked or vaporized marijuana.
Pros and Cons of Edibles
Edibles provide both benefits and drawbacks:
Marijuana edibles offer potential advantages over other methods of consuming cannabis. For example:
More Consistent Dosing
THC is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream when you smoke cannabis.
However, when you consume cannabis in edibles, your liver must first metabolize it. This process can take up to 2 hours, and it can result in a more gradual and consistent absorption of THC into the bloodstream.
This can make it easier to control the effects of cannabis. It may also reduce the risk of experiencing negative side effects, such as anxiety or paranoia.
Reduced Risk of Lung Damage
Smoking cannabis can lead to lung damage, but this is not a concern with marijuana edibles. Because cannabinoids are absorbed through the digestive system, there is no risk of lung damage.
Discreet and Portable
Marijuana edibles are discrete and portable, which makes them appealing to people who want to consume cannabis in public. Edibles do not have any telltale signs that indicate their presence, like the smell of cannabis smoke.
Drawbacks and Side Effects
Edibles aren’t right for everyone and have various drawbacks. They:
- Take a while to kick in, sometimes up to 2 hours
- Can be very potent
- Are easy to overeat
- Sometimes contain sugar
The side effects of edible cannabis products vary and depend on how much you consume. Potential negative effects include:
- Feeling anxious
- Trouble concentrating
- Accelerated heart rate
How Many Milligrams of THC Should You Eat?
This is a difficult question to answer. How much is safe or effective depends on several factors including your weight, tolerance, and the specific product you are consuming.
Some people recommend starting with a low dose (5 to 10mg) and increasing it as needed.
Remember that the effects of edibles can take up to 2 hours to develop, so be patient. Recreational cannabis use with edibles can trigger overdose symptoms if you eat too much.
If you are concerned about your reaction to edibles, consult a healthcare professional.
Call to find out how much your insurance will cover
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- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need to Know.” NCCIH, Nov. 2019.
- Friese, Bettina, et al. “Teen Use of Marijuana Edibles: A Focus Group Study of an Emerging Issue.” The Journal of Primary Prevention, vol. 37, no. 3, 1 June 2016, pp. 303–309.