Marijuana legalization is happening all across the United States, and legalization has brought new, more convenient ways to consume cannabis. Edibles have been around since your dad was eating pot brownies at Woodstock, but today’s legal market may mystify even the most experienced users. Medical patients and recreational consumers alike may be surprised by the hundreds of edible marijuana products differing in type, taste, potency and packaging that fill up dispensary shelves today. The team at Whaxy has partnered with Medical Jane, to introduce to you this educational guide, promoting knowledgeable and responsible cannabis consumption.
There are a several important things to remember when you consume marijuana edibles to have a safe experience. For experienced marijuana consumers many of the common pitfalls may seem obvious, but consuming edibles can produce an entirely different experience than smoking. Whether it’s choosing the right product or determining the right amount to eat, novices and experts have many of the same questions.
1. What Type Of Edible Is Best?
Nearly any type of food can be infused with cannabis, as long as it contains some form of lipids (fats). The effects between different types of edibles do not vary widely, so this is mainly a question of personal preference. The most notable difference between edible types is how they are absorbed into the body.
There are two different ways in which edibles can be absorbed into the bloodstream; sublingual and gastrointestinal. The first, sublingual, is latin for “under the tongue.” This type of absorption occurs when consuming suckers, lozenges, tinctures, or hard candy. This occurs at a much faster rate than gastrointestinal absorption because the cannabinoids are able to enter directly into the bloodstream through the tissues of the mouth.
Gastrointestinal absorption does not happen until the edible has entered the digestive tract. This means it will take longer to feel the effects. This type of absorption occurs when you consume items such as brownies, cookies, baked goods, savory snacks, and drinks.
2. How Much Should I Eat?
How much depends on your past experience with marijuana. For rookies, the rule is start low and go slow. Many, including the state of Colorado, suggest a starting dosage of 10 mg. This may not seem like much for experienced smokers and those who have an high tolerance for marijuana, but everyone consuming cannabis should err on the side of caution.
The Council on Responsible Cannabis Regulation recently produced the First Time Five website, which recommends only 5mg of infused edibles to ensure that no consumer, medical or recreational, has a poor experience. Remember that you can always eat more, but once it’s in your system you have to ride out the effects.
3. How Long Until They Kick In?
Unlike smoking marijuana, the effects of edibles may not be felt for up to and beyond 90 minutes. Peak effects may be delayed up to 2 hours, whereas the peak effects of smoking or vaporizing come in as little as 5-10 minutes. This is because of the way our bodies process THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
When smoked, delta-9 THC bypasses processing by the liver and directly enters our bloodstream via the lungs. When eaten, cannabis is metabolized by the liver, changing delta-9 THC into 11-hydroxy-THC. This results in a slower onset with more intense effects. The effects of the digested 11-hydroxy-THC are often described as being more psychedelic.
Planning your experience is extremely important. First and foremost, always make sure that edibles are properly labeled and stored in child-resistant containers that are kept out-of-reach. It is wise to be in a safe and controlled environment, especially for inexperienced users, as it may reduce possible feelings of anxiety.
It may be smart to set your limits before you begin and not exceed those limits. With alcohol, you might say, “I will only have one beer.” Similarly you can set your limits and stick to them. Chocolates and truffles are extremely easy to gobble up, but you have to remember that they are medicated.
Never get behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana. A safe and comfortable environment is highly recommended and if you have to leave, use a designated driver.
Always keep non-infused snacks on hand to prevent over-consumption of your marijuana edibles due to a case of the munchies. Drink plenty of water, and do not consume on an empty stomach, as this may intensify the effects.
If you are making your own edibles, make sure to choose a strain that you are familiar with. Before cooking, determine how strong you would like each serving to be. We have created an edibles calculator that will help you determine how many milligrams will be in each serving of your homemade goodies.
Photo Credit: Zé.Valdi
Despite the media frenzy over candy “laced with marijuana” this Halloween, the city of The Colorado Children’s Hospital reported no accidental consumption this weekend. The vastly overblown story broke when the Denver Police Department handed of their video warning about the close resemblance of infused-edibles to Halloween candy.
Media outlets ran with the story, spreading fear to local parents and onlookers from across the country. Although industry experts are working furiously to inform consumers and give a sense of transparency to the marijuana industry, fear pervades the media portrayal of mainstream cannabis.
Joe Hodas, from Dixie Elixirs told Colorado’s 9 News that, “While it is of course great to feel vindicated as an industry that no kids were given marijuana candy illegally, we are first and foremost members of our own communities – we are neighbors, families and friends. As such, when I woke up to check the news this morning to make sure that our worst fears had not somehow materialized, there was no sense of relief, but rather it was sadness for all of the horrible auto accidents that had occurred overnight.”
Hodas is on the front-lines of edibles safety and it seems that Halloween this was another small victory for the edibles industry. The concerted effort for safety in cannabis consumption has lawmakers and dispensaries alike looking for ways to protect the public. Producers are releasing releasing the low edibles, informing consumers about how to tell the difference, and a pushing to change packaging requirements to keep patients and consumers safe.
With several more states voting on legalization next Tuesday, Colorado has proven once again that legalization is a workable solution.
Photo Credit: Salon.com
Yesterday, Jeff Lawrence of the Colorado Department of Public Health recommended a ban on most forms of edible marijuana products. With the exception of tinctures and lozenges, the ban would eliminate most tasty treats Coloradans have become accustomed to over the last ten months of legalization. The controversial topic got quite a stir just a week after the Denver police department warned Colorado residents of the dangers of mistaking infused edibles for Halloween candy, and now some government officials are ready to take action.
Surprisingly, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper disagreed with the Department of Public health issuing this statement in response:
“We are confident that our working groups and the legislature can find solutions that keep marijuana out of the hands of kids while promoting safe access to edible products among adults.”
The Colorado Governor’s marijuana coordinator Andrew Freedman spoke on behalf of the Governor’s office saying, “It should come as no surprise that protecting kids from accidental ingestion of marijuana edibles is a top priority for the state’s chief medical officer.” Although Freedman’s sentiment was largely dismissive of the Department of Public Health’s cries to rid the state of nearly all edibles, he did concede that there were valid points in the arguments. And there are.
Earlier this year state law makers ordered regulators to develop new rules for edibles after a spike in hospitalizations of children who accidentally consumed marijuana-infused products. This spike is mainly attributed to the similar appearance, improper packaging, and negligence on the part of consumers. To curb the trend lawmakers are looking for solutions including lower dosages and more stringent packaging requirements. Many dispensaries and edibles manufacturers are shifting their production to less potent forms of edibles voluntarily in order to attract consumers who want a more mild experience.
While opponents of Amendment 64 in Colorado are looking for ways to take back ground, the little progress that they have made has been overshadowed by the success of legalization. It appears that even Colorado’s own governor is ready stand up for Colorado’s rights in the face of scrutiny.
It comes without saying that there would be hurdles in the first year of legalization in the first state in the free world. Although the processing, packaging, and marketing of edibles could certainly use more precise guidelines and regulations, Colorado stands to gain more by facing these challenges head on and setting the standard on a national scale.
Photo Credit: IBTimes.com, Time.com
Low dose marijuana edibles are now available at retail cannabis dispensaries in both Colorado and Washington. These products were designed to meet the needs of inexperienced marijuana users who want the full ‘cannabis edible’ experience without the risk of over consumption. This is a necessary movement considering that many of the medical marijuana edibles contain over 100mg of THC in one item, and only 5-10mg would qualify as a low dose.
Tourists, first timers, and other adults who have not consumed since their younger days, but are curious to try again, will definitely appreciate these products. The lower dose edible products that are currently available are the pioneer products to a market that will most likely become saturated in the near future.
As Tim Cullen, co-owner of Evergreen Apothecary and Colorado Harvest Company, explained to Colorado reporter, Kristen Wyatt,
“No one buys a handle of Jim Beam and thinks they should drink all of that in one sitting. But people do want to eat an entire cookie, an entire piece of chocolate. So these products allow you to do that and not have a miserable experience.”
Dixie Elixirs, producers of the slightly carbonated, tasty, fruit-flavored, THC-infused beverages, have released a new product in this line that will meet this need. The new flavor, called Watermelon Cream, contains only 5mg THC per bottle. The original line of beverages contain 75mg per bottle. An amount like 75mg may be ideal for a medical patient, but it may cause unpleasant feelings for a novice who unknowingly drinks the entire bottle.
One Denver area dispensary, The Green Solution, is leading the lower dose edibles game. This dispensary makes their own edibles in house, rather than outsourcing. This allows them to completely control the variety of products, taste, and the amount of cannabis in each item. This dispensary has a huge selection of edibles that cannot be found elsewhere, all of which contain only 10mg of THC per item.
In Colorado, this movement includes billboard reminders to consume responsibly, which may save a lot ski tourists from a ruined vacation.
Photo Credit: Consumeresponsibly.org