For decades, cannabis has been thought of as nothing more than illicit substance used to get high. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with enjoying a psychoactive buzz, the plant has moved beyond the realm of drug and into the realm of craft consumer delight.
One of the hottest new trends? Cannabis-infused food tastings. Every cannabis fan knows that the plant makes food look, taste, and smell amazing. There’s no eating experience quite as satisfying as diving into your favorite munchie while under the influence.
Now, however, food tastings offer a whole new way to experience cannabis.
Not only do tastings showcase the diverse flavor profile of the flower, but they give attendees the opportunity to engage in a slow-onset and extra-pleasurable dining experience. Cannabis food tastings put the herb in the place where it ultimately belongs: on the dinner table.
Before you dive into an infused meal, however, there are a few things you should know. Here’s how to prepare for a cannabis food tasting:
1. Get familiar with edibles
Edible cannabis is significantly stronger than smoking, vaping, or dabbing the herb. When you eat cannabis, the main psychoactive in the plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is broken down into a more powerful metabolite. This metabolite is 11-hydroxy-THC.
11-hydroxy-THC is thought to be more accessible to the brain and therefore more psychoactive than THC alone. When you inhale cannabis, much of the THC stays as THC. When you eat the plant, however, most THC is converted into the more heavy-handed metabolite by the liver.
Even small doses of edible cannabis can cause a strong and lasting high. In general, edibles take between 30 minutes and two hours to take effect. Once the experience begins, the psychoactive effects of the herb can linger as long as six hours.
Knowing your limit beforehand is key to having a great time at a cannabis food tasting. It is recommended to try edibles in a safe and comfortable environment on an earlier occasion to get a feel for the experience.
2. Small plates vs. infused meals
Knowing about the courses and structure of the meal ahead of time can help you estimate just how lifted you’re likely to get. Is the event truly a tasting, or will you be engorging yourself on a large infused meal?
Will all dishes be cannabis-infused, or will you simply be vaporizing or smoking cannabis during the meal?
If each course is infused, those with a low tolerance for edibles might find themselves a little too buzzed for comfort. However, if you’re just nibbling on a bit of canna-infused cheese or a bacon-wrapped date now and again, you may find that you can easily get by without getting too high.
3. Ask about potency
Dosage with edibles is very tricky. Cannabis-infused foods take quite a long time to kick in and it is recommended to start with a low and slow dose. In an ideal environment, it’s best to eat an edible and wait the full 30 minutes to two hours to see how it affects you.
At a dinner party, there may not be time for that. Asking about potency in advance can give you a very general idea about how lifted you’re likely to become. Though most home cooked goods will not feature precise THC measurements, here are some general dosage guidelines to follow:
- Microdose: 2.5 to 5mg of THC
- Standard dose: 10mg of THC
- High dose: 15 to 20mg of THC
- Medical cannabis dose: 20mg of THC and up
It’s important to keep in mind that individual tolerance has a profound affect on edible dosage. A novice consumer should stick to a dosage of five to 10mg of THC. However, non-medical enthusiasts may be able to handle 20mg like a champ.
4. Eat something in advance
It’s not advisable to arrive at a cannabis food tasting with a growling stomach. Why? You’ll risk eating your food too fast and getting as high as a kite.
Eating an edible on an empty stomach can make you significantly more high than you might expect. Unless you’re ready to get blazed, it is wise to eat some non-infused foods prior to a cannabis dinner.
Something with a little bit of fat and carbohydrate is ideal. Carbohydrates tend to be used by the body first, easing hunger. Fats are more satiating, which means you’re less likely to go hog wild at an infused food event. Some excellent snacking choices include:
- Baked chips and guacamole
- Avocado toast
- Fruits and veggies with nut butter
These foods would slow down the body’s ability to metabolize the edible, saving you from getting too high a little too quickly. After all, you’ll want to enjoy the cannabis food tasting, not pass out on the sofa once a heavy-handed edible takes effect.
5. Avoid drinking too much alcohol
Cannabis-infused beverages are an excellent way to get lifted fast. Unless you’re drinking a smoothie or something that contains fat, most juices and drinks are full of sugars and can be processed by the body very quickly.
Canna-infused drinks can make some wonderful cocktails. However, it’s important to keep in mind that any beverage made with activated cannabis will be quite potent.
Mixing edible cannabis with alcohol can quickly make you more intoxicated than you anticipate. It can also make you quite ill. The two substances together have a tendency to cause “the spins”, which is a form of vertigo.
This vertigo contributes the sensation that the world is haphazardly spinning around you. It might also make you more likely to vomit.
Bottom line? If you’re going to a cannabis food tasting, try to limit alcohol consumption to a light cocktail or a glass or two of wine. For many, two glasses might be overdoing it.
6. Arrange for transportation home
After an edible party, getting home safely can be a doozy. Most dinner engagements only last a few hours, which is just enough time for the cannabis to really kick in. As mentioned above, infused-foods are much more powerful than inhaled cannabis, which means that you’ll likely be driving impaired.
To play it safe, arrange a ride or have a clear gameplan for transportation back home. When you have a six hour high ahead of you, struggling to find the right bus in an unfamiliar neighborhood or getting behind a wheel can be risky and may cause more burden than its worth. This is especially the case if you have also consumed alcohol.
This post was originally published on June 11, 2017, it was updated on October 3, 2017.