Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis Edibles
Cannabis edibles are becoming ever more popular. But taking or making edibles can be a bit daunting, especially if it's your first time. But it doesn't need to be; keep reading for an overview of everything you need to know to properly enjoy delicious and powerful edibles.
What are edibles?
The term "edible" commonly refers to a cannabis-infused product made to be eaten. Space cakes, cookies, and brownies are arguably some of the most well-known types of edibles; but, with a little know-how and the right tools and ingredients (such as our POT Herb Cooker), virtually any meal can be infused with cannabis compounds.
Examples of edibles
• Baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, and cakes
• Candies, such as gummies, hard candy, chocolate bars/snacks, and syrups
• Beverages, such as seltzer, lemonade, juices, tea, coffee, and even alcoholic drinks
• Infused butter and oils, ideal for use in the kitchen to infuse your favourite meals with a cannabis kick
How edibles work
Edibles work quite differently from smoked or vaporised cannabis, delivering THC and other cannabis compounds into the system via receptors spread throughout the gastrointestinal tract. In order for edibles to take effect, they need to be eaten and digested (which takes some time). By digesting THC, it is ultimately converted by the liver into 11-hydroxy-THC, a compound capable of producing much stronger psychoactive effects than conventional THC. This is why edibles are largely considered the most potent form of cannabis intake, and why it’s important to tread with some caution when taking them.
Note: a small concentration of the active compounds in edibles may also be absorbed via the mucous membranes in the mouth. Cannabis gummies or infused oils, for example, can be held under the tongue for a few minutes to allow some of the active compounds to be absorbed a little faster.
How long does it take to feel the effects of edibles?
This is a seemingly simple question with a complex answer. While 30–60 minutes is a common estimate, the exact time it'll take for you to feel the effects of an edible depends on many different factors, including:
• The type of edible: Edibles such as lozenges and candies are partly absorbed in the mouth and are easily digested, meaning they typically have a faster onset than denser, chewable edibles such as baked goods or home-cooked meals.
• Whether you took the edible on an empty stomach: If you take an edible after eating, it will likely take longer to “hit”, as your body needs to digest more food at once.
• The potency of your edible: Higher-potency edibles have a faster onset than lower-potency edibles. Also, note that CBD edibles aren't intoxicating, and therefore the effects may be harder to register.
• Your body: Your age, weight, and sex, as well as your digestive health and metabolism, can all affect how long it takes for you to feel the effects of an edible.
Note: edibles don't kick in right away, so don't reach for another cookie or brownie 15 minutes after taking your first one. Instead, take one dose of an edible and wait at least two hours to gauge its effects.
How long do the effects of edibles last?
The effects of edibles last much longer than those of smoked or vaporised cannabis. Research shows that THC edibles usually reach their peak effects 3 hours after ingestion.¹ But the effects can last up to 6–8 hours, and sometimes even longer, depending on the dose, your metabolism, and your sensitivity to cannabinoids.
The pros and cons of cannabis edibles
Like most things in life, edibles have their share of pros and cons. Below we highlight the key factors to consider.
• Stronger, longer-lasting effects than smoked or vaped cannabis.
• Endless possibilities: There's virtually no limit to the food and drink you can infuse with weed.
• The chance to enjoy cannabis without the health risks associated with smoking it.
• Discretion: With edibles, taking a dose is as discreet as chewing a gummy or snack.
• Dosing can be challenging: Follow the tips outlined below to properly dose your homemade edibles.
• Slow onset of effects.
• Potency: The intense effects of edibles may be overwhelming for some, especially those with a low tolerance to THC.
How to store edibles
There are countless types of edibles out there, and covering the peculiarities of storing them all is well beyond the scope of this article. Nonetheless, here are some general storage tips that apply to various types of edibles:
• Always keep your edibles out of the reach of children and pets.
• Keep your edibles away from light and heat. Both degrade the active compounds in cannabis, including cannabinoids and terpenes.
• Most edibles can and should be stored in the fridge, especially if they contain dairy, sugar, oil, or flour.
• Store your edibles in airtight containers to preserve their natural flavours, aromas, and textures.
• Keep track of the dates you stored your edibles by writing them on the storage containers.
• If you're lucky enough to live in an area where cannabis edibles are sold legally, only buy them from trustworthy retailers.
Can you freeze edibles?
Yes! Most edibles can keep for several months in the freezer. Just remember to freeze them fresh, and defrost them slowly to best preserve their flavours.
How to easily make your own edibles using the POT Herb Cooker
Depending on where you live, you might be able to buy edibles legally from licensed retail stores (be it a dispensary, pharmacy, or coffeeshop). And while store-bought edibles can be delicious, making your own edibles is cheaper and, more importantly, gives you the freedom to explore different recipes and discover new flavours, aromas, and textures. And thanks to the POT, making your own edibles is now as easy as:
1. Decarb your dried flower using the POT's decarb function.
2. Use the POT's infuse function to infuse butter, oil, or the cooking fat of your choice with the activated compounds in your decarbed flower.
3. Use your infused cooking fat to add a cannabis kick to your favourite recipes!
It's simple. POT takes all of the hard work out of homemade edibles. For more details on the process of using the POT, check out our YouTube channel.
When making your own edibles, remember to choose a strain with flavours and effects that you like. The effects of different strains come down to the amount and type of cannabinoids and terpenes they contain, as well as your body chemistry (i.e. your body's particular response to cannabis) and your dose. Cannabis affects everyone differently, so be sure to take the time to identify the strains that best suit you, and follow the dosing tips listed below to ensure your homemade edibles produce exactly the effects you're looking for.
Tips on dosing edibles
Dosing edibles can be challenging, but there are some ways to get the hang of it. If you're taking a store-bought edible, simply follow the dosing recommendations that come with it, and remember to be patient! If, on the other hand, you're making your own cannabis edibles at home, follow these tips to ensure proper dosing:
• If making your own cannabutter or oil, use the potency calculator to calculate the strength of your butter or oil based on the potency and amount of weed you're using.
• Most US states agree that 5mg of THC equates to one edible serving. We recommend sticking to this standard when making edibles at home, meaning a recipe that makes 8 brownies, for example, should contain no more than 40mg of THC.
• If you're new to edibles, start by taking half of the dose and waiting at least 45 minutes before taking the rest. This will give you a chance to gauge the strength of the edible and adjust your dose if need be.
Making edibles at home? Never again risk burning your weed when making homemade infused butter or oil—the POT by NOIDS makes decarbing and infusing cannabis oil/butter super simple. Learn how it works here.
1. Borodovksky, J. et al (2016) Smoking, Vaping, Eating: Is Legalization Impacting the Way People Use Cannabis? International Journal of Drug Policy, Oct; 36: 141–147.