How Do Edibles Work: First Timer’s Guide
An Introduction to Cannabis-Infused Edibles
The concept of infusing cannabis into food has been around for generations. While most people are familiar with the quintessential edible, the special brownie, these days consumers can find cannabis-infused versions of food products in just about every category. There are still lots of questions — and myths — surrounding infused edibles, which is why we decided to put together a first timer’s guide.
If you’re just getting started in the world of cannabis, the options can be overwhelming. Oftentimes, friends, family, and budtenders will advise new cannabis users to start with a low-dose edible, but there are some things that you should be made aware of before diving in. Additionally, many consumers oftentimes find themselves wanting to incorporate cannabis infusions into their own recipes. Although doing so may seem as simple as sprinkling some cannabis flower into your favorite recipe, there are a few steps to take before your cannabis flower can be used in your favorite meal.
Why Would I Choose Cannabis Edibles Instead of Other Intake Methods?
There’s certainly no wrong or right way to consume your cannabis but understanding the pros and cons of edibles can prove to be valuable information, especially for first timers.
Pros of Cannabis-Infused Edibles
- Discreet – As you might imagine, edibles are one of the most discreet methods to consume your cannabis. Unlike smoking or vaping, there’s no pungent aroma that can linger and blow your cover, if that’s a concern of yours. To the uninformed, an infused edible appears no different than a non-infused version of the same product. Just be sure to keep your infused edibles in a safe and secure location, away from any area where an unexpecting passerby could accidentally grab an edible while simply looking for a quick snack.
- Dosage Control – In most cases it is difficult to accurately measure your dosage of cannabis when smoking or vaping. On the other hand, edibles give users more control over the amount of cannabis consumed. This is due to the multitude of variables at play when combusting cannabis as opposed to ingesting. Of course, this doesn’t come without some caveats, which we will explain later.
- Less Cannabis Required – Cannabis that is ingested is metabolized in the liver. This process, referred to as First Pass Metabolism, utilizes a class of naturally occurring enzymes in the liver called CYP450 to activate cannabinoids like THC. Without this process, we would not be able to experience the effects of cannabis by eating it. In the case of THC, the liver converts it to 11-OH-THC, which is notably more potent than THC, while producing nearly the same effects. This means that medicating with edibles will typically require less cannabis to achieve the same effects were you to consume via inhalation. Fun Fact: Cannabis isn’t the only thing that relies on the CYP450 enzyme class. It is believed that nearly 90% of medication also uses these enzymes to reach systemic circulation. There are even some foods that can affect these enzymes, like grapefruit!
- Convenience – Running alongside discreteness, many consumers appreciate the convenience that edibles offer. For some, medicating in the presence of others can provoke undesired attention. While smoking, vaping, or even using tinctures can sometimes elicit unwanted questions from others around you, chances are that nobody will think twice if they see you snacking on one of the infused edibles found in our article for healthier edible recipes.
Potential Pitfalls of Edibles
Like most things, cannabis-infused edibles don’t come without some potential hurdles that consumers may face.
- Potentially Unwanted Ingredients – While there are certainly methods to make your infused edibles healthier, we’re all guilty of giving in to our sweet tooth from time to time. Infused edibles are available in a wide variety of options, but sometimes it can prove to be difficult to choose a healthy treat over one that’s packed with sugar and processed ingredients. Consumers may also find it difficult to find a legal, licensed dispensary that has healthy edible options.
- Timing Your Administration – While this may not be a cause of concern for everyone, sometimes timing when you’ll feel the effects of an edible can be difficult. That’s because unlike methods like inhalation, which can be felt just moments afterwards, edibles require a window of time before the user can feel the effects. As described earlier, cannabis-infused edibles must go through a different metabolic process before reaching systemic circulation. Although the general rule of thumb is that edibles will typically be felt around 45-60 minutes after consumption, this can vary based on several variables. Factors like genetics, diet, basal metabolic rate, and product ingredients can all contribute to an unpredictable onset of action, which is the amount of time before effects are felt.
- Figuring Out Optimal Dosage – As discussed earlier, THC converts to 11-OH-THC in the liver. Users can sometimes find it difficult to draw an accurate correlation between the amount of THC they may typically consume via non-edible intake methods and the amount required to mirror those effects in edible products. This often leads to what many canna-consumers see as a rite of passage for cannabis consumption — overdoing it. If you don’t have your own story of a time when you “consumed a little too much”, then surely you have someone in your social circle who can attest to it happening to them. In the majority of cases, overindulging on edibles will just lead to more intense effects and aren’t usually a cause for alarm. The reason this so frequently occurs is because there’s no universal dosage protocol. To mitigate the chances of this happening to you, we recommend following the age-old adage of starting low and slow — that is, beginning with a very low dose and slowly working your way up to figure out what works best for you.
Tips for Trying Edibles for the First Time
Edibles may feel intimidating to some users and that’s okay! It’s completely natural to want to approach something new with caution. By following these tips, you can rest assured that you’ll be ahead of the pack in terms of ensuring a positive experience with edibles.
- Low and Slow – We’ve said it before and we will say it again, until you are fully comfortable with edibles — or any form of cannabis for that matter — begin your journey with a low dose and increase slowly over time. This is your best form of prevention against overdoing it with cannabis.
- Establish a set and setting – Before you try edibles, plan ahead as far as where you’ll be and make sure you’re in a good headspace. For instance, if you find that large crowds tend to make you uncomfortable, it is probably best to avoid edibles before heading to a concert or large gathering. Many users recommend incorporating meditative practices alongside cannabis. That’s because most meditation methods require the user to be in a comfortable, calm setting and mindset.
- Invite a Friend – If you’re nervous about your first edible experience, don’t be afraid to invite a supportive friend or family member along for the experience. Oftentimes, topical conversation with a person you trust will not only ensure that you remain in a positive state of mind, but can also lead to some deeply enlightening discussions.
- Check Your Product’s Label & COA – Do yourself a favor and compare your edible product’s label with its certificate of analysis (COA) which can be provided by your budtender or found on a brand’s website. Don’t hesitate to ask the budtender to help explain the COA and compare the values found on it to those listed on the product’s label. They should always match or have minimal differences. This will give you peace of mind that you’re not only getting what you paid for, but that you’re also consuming the intended amount.
- Make a Plan Beforehand – Don’t wait until you begin feeling the effects of an edible before making a plan. Having an idea of how you want to spend your time during your edible journey will help remove the stress of trying to gather your thoughts, which shouldn’t be the task at hand once the effects begin setting in.
- Consider Microdosing – A rapidly growing trend, microdosing cannabis is the ultimate method of easing into cannabis edibles. This involves beginning with dosages that are sub-perceptual, from which point you can decide if you want to increase your dose. Check out our guide on microdosing cannabis for a complete walkthrough of how to incorporate this practice.
- Keep Notes of Your Experience – This will help you better tailor your relationship with cannabis. These notes don’t have to be intricate, something as simple as a note on your phone describing the date, time, dosage, and how you felt will put you in a position to alter your dosage during subsequent journeys.
A New Approach to Edibles – Quick Onset Cordials
If you’ve made it to this point in the article and feel that edibles are more complicated than you would like, there’s a product that can alleviate much of your concern. Koan Cordials are quickly removing many of the potential hurdles that cannabis users face with edibles. Consumers no longer need to worry about product dosage variability or dosage accuracy. Koan Cordials are consistently dosed with laboratory precision. Even better, there’s no risk of variation from batch to batch. This translates to a repeatable experience for the user, each and every time.
If you find that your local dispensary has sold out of Koan Cordials, don’t worry…they can now be purchased online and delivered right to your doorstep (California residents only). Conveniently packaged by desired mood, Koan offers blend options for every occasion — with more being added regularly. Perhaps you are a seasoned cannabis user, you may find yourself opting for the Wonder blend, which is designed to take you as far as you are willing to go. The Create blend is an ever-popular choice for those looking to stimulate their artistic and imaginative side. If you’re simply wanting to use cannabis as a means of finding some harmony and homeostasis as the end — or beginning — of a long day, the Balance blend is an excellent place to start. Regardless of your consumption method, by incorporating best practices into your cannabis use, you’ll find the relationship rewarding, fulfilling, and eye-opening.
This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used as medical advice. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet, medications, or daily routine. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.