One of the great joys of cannabis consumption is edibles — food and drinks infused with cannabis. Anyone who’s both smoked marijuana and eaten edibles will tell you that the two experiences are different, with the latter notably long-lasting and more potent than the former. Edibles count among their high-profile fans stars like Melissa Etheridge, Willie Nelson, Seth Rogen, Martha Stewart, Megan Rapinoe, and Snoop Dogg. They are an excellent choice for marijuana enthusiasts who desire convenience, discretion, and an even more enjoyable experience than smoking.
If you’re a newbie to cannabis culture, you may think that edibles are the result of the recent wave of marijuana decriminalization in states and the rise of dispensaries. However, edibles have been enjoyed by many across the world for centuries.
A brief history of edibles
Some historians cite the Indian beverage known as bhang as the first known edible consumed regularly by a group. The ancient Hindus began consuming this drink comprised of clarified butter and spices mixed with ground-up bud and leaves, as early as 1,000 BC, for medicinal purposes as well as spiritual ones. To this day, many practicing Hindus still consume it during the annual spring festival of Holi. However, others would trace edibles back to mahjoun — a hash edible originating in Persia around this time.
Since that time, many cultures have used cannabis in food preparation. During medieval times, Uzbeks produced and distributed a popular candy known as guc-kand to young children. Cambodians used cannabis as a form of seasoning for several traditional dishes. The fifteenth-century Italian cookbook, “On Honorable Pleasure and Health,” featured an edible recipe. And by the 1800s, hash had become popular in the West, with some companies even mass-producing hash-filled lozenges and candies.
But it was during the mid-twentieth century when writer Alice B. Toklas authored a cookbook featuring an edible recipe for hash brownies that edibles began to infiltrate mainstream culture. They became a part of the Sixties’ counterculture movement and started to make appearances in film and music. In countries where marijuana was already decriminalized, cannabis coffee shops and dispensaries gradually began to sell them. Now, with a firmly established market for edibles, you can find many types of edibles, including gummies, drinkables, chocolates, tinctures, and baked goods, in legal dispensaries and specialty shops around the world.
Gummies — candies made with cannabis or CBD oil — are great for those of us who have a sweet tooth but aren’t necessarily fans of chocolate, as well as those who love different textures and flavors. You can buy them in a variety of delicious flavors, like blueberry, grapefruit, and fruit punch, among others, and most flavors have a sour option as well. Gummies also come in various shapes, from spheres to gummy bears, and in different doses. 5mg, 10mg, 25mg, and 50 mg are common sizes.
If you haven’t tried cannabis edibles before, it’s best to start with a smaller dose of THC products — 2.5 mg to 5 mg and wait at least two hours before eating more. Edibles must pass through your digestive system, so it takes time for you to feel the THC kick in. The first time or two, wait until it kicks in and see how you feel before eating more. If you’ve had edibles before but not gummies, start with a 5 or 10 mg offering and see how that affects you. Then gradually increase your consumption size.
You can store gummies in your refrigerator with only slight deterioration. They often come in a resealable bag; closing it up and sticking it in the fridge can help preserve your gummies. However, if long-stored gummies start to smell bad or look funny, dispose of them.
There are also many types of marijuana-infused drinks for sale — everything from sodas and sparkling waters to energy drinks. You can even buy weed-infused alcohol! You’ll find that many beverages have between 2.5 mg and 10 mg of THC, which can make it a good choice for those who want a light buzz and don’t want to consume too much THC. However, you can also easily find drinkables with 50 mg or 100 mg or more of THC in them.
Because you begin to absorb THC through your saliva, you’ll feel the effects far quicker than you will by eating gummies or other weed-infused foods. If you haven’t tried a drinkable, start with one with a smaller dose of THC first. You should begin to feel the effects inside 30 minutes. Only as you begin to drink your weed more regularly and understand your tolerance should you begin to increase your dosage.
As with gummies, you want to keep your drinkables sealed in your cool, dark place. A kitchen cabinet or your refrigerator will work and can keep your drinkables preserved for six months or more. However, if your container is rusty or leaking, toss it.
If you’re a chocolate lover, you’re in luck. There are chocolate-infused edibles for every chocolate lover’s preference, infused with cannabis or CBD oil. Love dark chocolate or chocolate and caramel combinations? Luxury brands like Dreamland Chocolates have an edible to match every palate. You’ll get the rich, decadent experience of chocolate paired with a generous dose of THC. You’ll find bars on the market ranging from 25 mg to 100 mg or more. But when you look for chocolates, make sure you’re looking carefully at a brand with a reputation for being able to craft quality chocolate in addition to cannabis distillates for the best experience.
While chocolate bar edibles and other chocolate products can be consumed throughout the day, they’re delightful in the morning with a cup of coffee or in the evening as a dessert before bedtime. They can help you get your day off to the right start or else enjoy a fantastic night’s sleep. If you’re new to chocolate edibles, start small with a low-dose bar or a portion of a high-dose one. If you buy a bar and split it, make sure to wrap your leftovers in foil and store them somewhere dark and cool. You can use a pantry shelf or your fridge. However, if you keep your chocolates in the latter, be mindful that your chocolate may develop a white film if left too long in the refrigerator as it will absorb the ambient moisture. Also, you’ll need to keep your chocolate airtight, or it may absorb the odors of other food in the fridge.
You also may be interested in tinctures — concentrations of cannabis oil that can be added to other drinks or applied topically. There’s a long history of tincture use for medicinal purposes. While marijuana’s illegal status has stymied many formal medical research efforts, there’s some evidence that many tinctures — especially those made from CBD extracts — can help relieve anxiety and reduce chronic pain. And while this evidence may be incomplete, many CBD oil users will testify how this tincture has helped them deal with insomnia, anxiety, and pain from chronic illnesses.
You’ll find high-quality brands like Planet M will come in bottles with droppers and recommend that you take one or two drops under your tongue or else dissolve your dose in water before consuming. As with drinkables, these tinctures will be absorbed through your saliva, resulting in relatively fast activation. You’ll feel more clear-headed and calm when it kicks in, which may be just what you need. If you’re taking CBD oil for these purposes, make sure to purchase a brand with minimal THC. However, if you are looking for a fast-acting THC high, tinctures with high THC concentrations are also an option. As with CBD oils, these can be dissolved under the tongue. Pay attention to the dosage in the bottle, as these concentrates are very potent. You can easily consume too much if you’re not careful.
The bottle each oil comes in will preserve your oil for months if kept in a cool, dark place. If your oil starts to smell or taste bitter, you’ll know it’s beginning to go bad. Time to get another bottle!
Baked goods are also a great edible choice — especially because there are so many of them! You can find baked goods ranging from traditional brownies, and chocolate cupcakes to Rice Krispie treats. There’s cannabis-infused popcorn, confectionary spreads, nuts, raisins, pancake and waffle mixes — and even beef jerky! Whatever kind of snacks you like, chances are there’s an edible version available for sale. And there are various THC-infused cooking aids to season your meal on the market as well.
As with other marijuana edibles, stick with the dose that’s right for you. This may not be easy. After all, when you start eating a good chocolate cupcake, it’s hard to put down. You may find it helpful to begin with gummies or other candy edibles to understand your tolerances before eating larger or higher-dose edibles. And make sure to read the concentration on each package first before you start.
Storage methods also vary by type of baked good. Candies will usually come in an airtight resealable container and last quite a while as long as they are kept away from light and heat. You can expect other edibles like cakes and bread to have a similar shelf life to regular cakes and bread. Store them in the pantry for a few days. Or place them in the fridge for a week or two at most. Brownies can keep for two weeks in the pantry or a month in the refrigerator. Crackers and chips should be tightly resealed and can keep for a couple of weeks at room temperature. Beware of pungent odors and odd smells, which are a sure sign that your baked goods are going bad.
How edibles compare to smoking
Edibles are quite popular, and new types are brought to market every day. People enjoy them because of their convenience and their elimination of the health harms that come with smoking. However, there’s also the high. The absorption of THC through the gastrointestinal system produces a more potent form of THC called 11-hydroxy-THC, leading to a more intense feeling of euphoria — one that provides a buzz throughout your whole body. The feeling also lasts longer than the typical effect from smoking, though this may vary based on the last meal you ate, medications you may be taking, and other factors.
Because edibles pass through your digestive system, you’ll feel the effects only after between 30 minutes to two hours. The delayed activation increases the risk of overconsumption among newcomers who eat more and more when they do not feel immediate effects. However, the delay can also be a boon to more experienced cannabis connoisseurs who carefully incorporate it into their schedules. A bite or two of a chocolate bar while preparing dinner can provide much-needed relaxation between dessert and bedtime.
Why edibles feel more potent
Many smokers have noted that after first eating edibles, the euphoria from edibles feels much more potent than that which they receive from smoking. Not only do newcomers often inadvertently overconsume edibles, but the amount of THC in edible products — even in commercially produced products — ranges quite a bit. It can be challenging even for experienced edible makers to measure the amount of THC correctly. And if your first experience with edibles was a brownie or cookie your friend made at home, you very well may have consumed too much THC.
New edible consumers often aren’t prepared for the heightened euphoria 11-hydroxy-THC produces or the length of time it remains in their system. In fact, in Washington and Colorado, poison control centers (like the Rocky Mountain Poison & Drug Center, among others) saw an increase in edible-related calls shortly after the legalization of marijuana there.
Who edibles can be sold to
Edibles are available in states that have either legalized medical, recreational marijuana, or both. In states that have legalized medical marijuana only, residents must have obtained a medical marijuana card. The requirements vary state-to-state, but the process generally starts with a consultation with one’s physician about an underlying condition for which the state has formally recognized marijuana as a possible treatment option.
New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota, are the newest states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Additionally, you can buy marijuana legally in Washington, California, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Alaska, and the District of Columbia. In states that have legalized marijuana, you must be 21 years of age or older to purchase. Residents can usually order it for delivery online. Nonresident tourists must buy it state in person.
Are edibles right for you?
Edibles can be a great choice if you’re looking for a convenient and discreet way to ingest THC without the negative impacts that smoking THC has on your respiratory system. The delayed activation and long-lasting effects can also make edibles an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy a more comfortable night’s rest. Moderate edible consumption may also help alleviate anxiety and stress throughout the day. However, you should be mindful of your dosage, ensure that you can function in public, and take public transportation or rideshares if you need to go places.
Where you should start
A good edible is a mixture of potent THC or CBD and a quality food product. You don’t want to get started with edibles that are potent but taste terrible. Instead, you want to opt for well-recognized trusted brands that put as much care into the craft of food production as they do into the cultivation of quality cannabis strains. Start with brands like Dreamland Chocolates or Haha Edibles that blend the best of both worlds — potent THC/CBD and tasty food and beverages. And for CBD extracts, try Planet M, which offers great tasting, fast-activating, and long-lasting drops that can help you address anxiety, stress, and chronic pain effectively.
You can buy either of these brands, as well as a whole lot more, at the top dispensaries in Las Vegas, including Medizin and Planet 13, the largest dispensary in the world. You can also buy them online here. If you’re looking to incorporate edibles into your diet or are looking for some better-tasting alternatives to the edibles you’ve been eating, check out Haha Edibles, Dreamland Chocolates, and everything else we have to offer.