For those who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, depression or other medical conditions, medical marijuana has become an increasingly popular option for symptom relief. While smoking or inhaling cannabis is often the most common method of consumption, some patients prefer edibles as an alternative option.
There are several reasons why a patient may opt for edibles over other routes of administration such as inhalation or smoking. Some may have respiratory or cardiovascular conditions that make smokable or inhalable cannabis unsuitable for their health. For others, the effects of edibles last longer because THC is metabolized through digestion.
If you’re new to using medical cannabis products and are interested in trying edibles, here’s everything you need to know about them.
What Are Cannabis Edibles?
Edibles refer to any type of medical cannabis product that is digested rather than smoked or inhaled. This can include marijuana capsules and tablets but often refers to food items such as gummies, candies, beverages, and snacks.
Why Are Cannabis Edibles Popular?
There are four main reasons why cannabis edibles have become increasingly popular among medical marijuana patients:
1. No Odor After Use: When you consume a cannabis edible, there is no smell of marijuana once the container or bag is opened.
2. Easy to Carry and Store: The small containers or zip lock type bags used to store edibles are easy to carry and store compared to smokable or inhalable cannabis products.
3. No Paraphernalia Required: Unlike smokable or inhalable cannabis products that require devices like pipes, vapes and dab rigs, consuming edibles requires no equipment other than the edible itself.
4. Effects Last Longer: Compared to other routes of administration like smoking or inhaling cannabis, edibles provide extended relief as THC metabolizes through digestion rather than being inhaled into the lungs.
What Should You Know Before Consuming Edibles?
One crucial thing to keep in mind is that the effect of THC can feel very different when consumed in an edible form. When smoking or inhaling cannabis, the “high” can be experienced in as little as 3-5 minutes. But with edibles, it takes longer to absorb the THC through the digestive tract.
A common mistake first-time patients make is taking too many edibles due to the long latency period between consumption and feeling the full effect of THC in your body. It can take up to two hours before the effects are fully felt, so be patient and don’t double dose until you are confident about the level of effects.
When trying edibles for the first time, start with a low-THC product and take half the suggested dosage to learn how the edible will affect you. The effects can vary according to many factors, including body weight, prescription medications, and other health conditions.
What Kind of Cannabis Edibles Can You Buy?
Cannabis edibles come in a variety of forms, from gummies and hard candies to chocolates, beverages, baked goods, and even breakfast bars and cereals. When purchasing cannabis edibles, it’s important to pay attention to their potency levels, which can range from microdoses of 1-2mg to macrodoses of 100-500mg.
Are There Side Effects or Risks Associated with Edible Consumption?
While medical marijuana is generally considered safe under medical supervision, there are some risks associated with consuming edibles. For example, taking too much THC through an edible can result in unpleasant side effects such as extreme drowsiness, paranoia, nausea, and vomiting.
If you suspect that you may have taken too much THC through an edible, it’s important to remain calm and seek medical attention if necessary. If possible, try drinking plenty of water and resting until the effects wear off.
If you’re considering using medical cannabis products for symptom relief but prefer not to smoke or inhale cannabis, edibles may be a good option for you. However, it’s important to start with low-THC products and understand that the effects of THC can feel very different when consumed in an edible form.
Ultimately, the best way to find out if edibles are right for you is to talk with a qualified healthcare provider who can recommend an appropriate dosage and route of administration based on your individual needs and health history.