Start Low, Go Slow: Quick tips on cannabis-infused edibles

Cannabis-infused products, or edibles, are a great alternative to smoking cannabis, and recently have become increasingly more popular among patients.

Over the years edibles have evolved. Gone are the days when a friend whipped up a batch of “pot brownies” by dumping a bunch of cannabis into the batter. Not knowing the dose, these edibles may or may not have worked, and inevitably would leave bits of cannabis in your teeth (yuck). Cannabis is now mixed with almost any food or beverage and in legal states you can purchase anything from gummies, chocolate bars, and hard candies, to sodas and teas.

Although Florida’s medical cannabis program does not yet offer edibles sold at a dispensary, that does not mean that they are completely unavailable. In fact, many patients are making their own edibles at home with the use of products like Trulieve’s TruClear. However, whether buying them in a legal state, or making them at home here in Florida, you should always be very careful with edibles… they sure can pack a wallop!

The Science
So what makes consuming edibles so different from smoking? When you smoke cannabis, the psychoactive cannabinoid THC enters the bloodstream through the lungs. Within seconds it reaches the brain and the effects of the cannabis are almost immediate. When you consume an edible, the THC is slowly absorbed into the bloodstream as it goes through the digestive system. Because it is processed and metabolized through the stomach, intestines, and liver, it may take anywhere from five minutes to almost two hours to feel the effects, but the results tend to be much more intense. Unfortunately, many people new to edibles are a little impatient and do not think they are working so they consume more, and when they finally do feel the effects, it can be quite unpleasant.

Empty or full stomach?
It depends. If the edible contains fat, you can basically do it either way and get almost the same effect. However, if there is no butter, coconut oil, or other fat in the edible, it will be transported and metabolized better if you eat with it or within 20 minutes of ingesting it. It’s metabolized in the liver, and the liver needs fat to interact with the bile. Sometimes cookies, fudge, and other foods that have fat in them tend to affect people a little more strongly and for a longer time than the gummies, lollipops, and hard candy. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all rule.

Dosing with Concentrates
If you are making edibles at home using a product like TrueClear, figuring out the dose of an edible is very easy. Simply divide 875mg by the number of edibles you are making. If you make 60 cookies, each cookie would contain approximately 14.58mg of THC .
(875mg/60 cookies=14.58mg per cookie)
*Please note that all cookies may not be the same size so a dose may be higher if it is a larger cookie.

First Time? Try Five
Now that you know a little about edibles, what’s a good dose to start with? Even the most experienced cannabis smokers can be surprised at how potent edibles can be. That’s why it good to “start low and go slow.” You can always ingest more, but you can never ingest less. With that in mind, first-time patients should try 5mg to start.

First and foremost know that you will not die from over consuming edibles (even if you think you may). Just remember that the effects are temporary and even though it may be a bit uncomfortable, you will return to normal within a few hours. However, CBD can counteract some of those unwanted effects such as anxiety or paranoia.

About Lisa Colando

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