EDIBLESStart low and go slow!
Cannabis-infused edibles are a great way to medicate for many patients. They’re discreet, leave no smell, are long lasting, and chemically they offer a different effect from inhaling cannabis. Edibles are also how most THC overdoses occur, so it’s important to know the proper ways to use your edibles in maximizing their medicinal effects without over doing it.
SWOP currently has two sources of edibles, ones we make in-house, like our coconut oils and tinctures, and the ones we outsource to Bhang. Every time we produce an edible, whether in house or at Bhang, we use only strain-specific bud to extract. This gives our edibles reliable strain effects, allowing patients to fine-tune based on their needs, then recreate the effects that work. If a patient desires a different effect or has an additional medical need, we can suggest a different strain.
Types of edibles and how they work
SWOP chose to work with Bhang because of their clean Super Critical CO2 extraction process. Leaving no chemical residue at all, this process pulls the active chemicals off the cannabis plant material and infuses them into their edibles. Bhang tests the CO2 oil after it is made to determine how much to put into each edible. The oil is also tested for microbial content to assure consumer safety. After producing the edibles they are tested once again to make sure the proper ratio is achieved. When you buy a Bhang chocolate bar or bag of hard candy, you know that the cannabinoid content listed on the packaging is exactly what you are getting. On top of that, Bhang are world class chocolatiers and their products are absolutely delicious.
SWOP’s in-house edibles follow that same dedication and are typically one of the best deals in the store, requiring no additional overhead. Cannabis-infused coconut oil is one of our in-house edible products. Coconut oil is one of the best carriers for cannabinoids and terpenoids and we offer it in a wide range of strengths. Potency varies depending on how much cannabis flower is used in the process of making the coconut oil. SWOP tests each batch to determine the exact amounts of cannabinoid content as well as for any microbiological contaminants, so patients know exactly what they are getting and that it’s safe to consume. Terpene tests performed on our coconut oil confirm that SWOP’s proprietary process maintains a full terpene profile. This translates into an accurate and consistent strain effect. The coconut oils are also kept in the raw state, meaning all cannabinoids are in the “acid” form, such as THC-A, and CBD-A. These acid cannabinoids are non-psychoactive, but extremely potent anti-inflammatories and can be tolerated in much higher doses than neutral cannabinoids like THC. Coconut oils can be cooked with, used topically, or melted into a hot beverage. It’s important to remember that once heated, the product will now be decarboxylated, meaning it will be psychoactive.
Tinctures are a bit different from edibles in that they are absorbed sublingually (under the tongue). Mucosal membranes in the mouth are a great and often overlooked way of ingesting cannabinoids. Just place a half-full dropper of tincture under your tongue and hold it there to start the absorption. With sublingual ingestion, cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the blood stream, so you don’t have to wait for it to pass through your liver to get dispersed into your blood like other edibles. This means the effects from a tincture can be felt much sooner than edibles, normally between 5 and 20 minutes.
Edibles that are swallowed on the other hand can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours for the effects to be noticeable. This is because the active chemicals in an edible must be digested, and passed through the liver to get distributed into the blood stream. Digestion is a slow process, and this happens over a period of 3-6 hours, so the felt effects will last anywhere from 3 to 8 hours, though people who take very large doses have reported effects lasting 24-48 hours. Delta 9 THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, goes through some chemical changes in your liver as well. It gets converted into the 11-hydroxy-THC which acts differently in the brain, and is bioactive for much longer than Delta 9 THC. Also, because it is a different molecule, your brain will build a separate tolerance to it. Having a high tolerance for inhaled THC does not mean you will have a high tolerance for ingested THC.
The recommended starting dose for edibles is between 2.5 and 10 milligrams of THC, and around the same for CBD. Patients familiar with THC side effects can start a little higher, between 5 and 10 milligrams. More experienced edible users will find that their useful dose gets higher as their body develops tolerance with most users plateauing between 20 and 50mg of THC. It is recommended to suck on whatever edible you try instead of swallowing it. This bypasses the liver and digestion, and gives the medication a faster activation. It is recommended to start with a small dose and wait at least an hour or two before taking more. Consult with your budtenders and tell them if you have tried edibles before, and how you responded.
Keep in mind stomach contents, weight, body fat, metabolism, whether a patient has used cannabis or edibles before, and hormonal imbalances all affect how well the chemicals are absorbed into the blood stream. The effects from edibles can be extremely potent, and an overdose is not a pleasant experience. Always start low, and go slow with edibles.
In case of overdose, remember that the feeling will not last forever, and that you will eventually return to normal. Eat some black pepper or some CBD (or both) to help reduce the mental side effects, but generally you just have to wait for the THC to clear out of your system. No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose, but anyone that has had one can tell you that they are not pleasant. Start low and go slow, and you’ll find that edibles are one of the best forms of cannabis medication, especially for those looking to get a good night’s sleep. A good dose of the right edible before bed will keep you snoring until morning!
DISCLAIMER: Some patient’s bodies do not readily absorb cannabinoids through the GI tract, if you are not feeling effects from edibles, try them on an empty stomach, and it may be best to let them melt in your mouth and absorb sublingually to achieve greater effects.